Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Dark Horse Sapient Trip AleDark Horse Sapient Trip Ale

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Tripel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by putnam on 04-20-2004

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Reviews: 348 | Ratings: 859
Photo of Mindcrime1000
3.19/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from one of Dark Horse's great garish single-serve bottles (keep the artwork coming folks)

Look--Initially pours like a classic trippel--copper/gold, hazy, and inviting. However, very quickly "settles" into a perfectly clear brew like a macro. Not offputting, just weird.

Sweet malts and yeasts forward, but a very strong phenolic aroma, almost like a phenolic wit, if that makes sense.

Taste--Yep. Another "merican" take on a Belgian style that thinks bitter or "unique" means better. Based on the brewer's description of its own brew, this is a tripel "take" that has its roots in Dark Horse's summer wheat brew. That explains the weird cacophony of flavors clashing on the palate. It does have the malts and yeasts with some cracker complexity to tell you they were thinking about creating a tripel when they were brewing this, but the phenols of the original wit "base" overwhelm it with a medicinal quality, and the hops are a bit too aggressive on the finish. Not an offensive take on a tripel per se, just a strange medicinal one. This could have been good. It ended up being kind of a mess.

Feel--Thin for the style, probably another side-effect of being a variation on a summer wheat brew.

Overall-- Dark Horse has been a "hit" or "miss" for me over time. Its take on Scotch Ale ("Scotty Karate") is exceptional. Plead the Fifth is a good stout. Maybe this brewer is simply better at the British brewing styles, because its attempts at Belgians (their wit--Kamikaze Kaleidoscope --and this brew) are just a little off, mostly because of an apparent effort to be intentionally off-beat. Not a drain pour, but not one I will try again.

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Photo of Taybeh
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Into a tulip from a single, pours a slightly hazy reddish peach with a 1 finger crown of puffy head that subsides quickly...some carbonation bubbles. Nose is pretty good: cloves and belgian yeast, tangerine, caramel...I don't get a lot of layers though, and once it hits the tongue, this concern is amplified. It's good, but there's just not a lot of depth or complexity. Not quite as much carbonation as I expect for the style...fairly substantial body with a touch of boozy heat.

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Photo of Czequershuus
3.96/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This beer pours a murky, muddy amber with a smallish head. The aroma leads with lots of spice - cinnamon, sandalwood, and a huge amount of clove - then fruit - apricot jam, bananas, spiced pears, and some notes of walnut and pecans as well. The flavor is more fruit forward, with ripe banana, apricot, still a lot of clove, cinnamon, roasted nuts, and a pleasant hint of smokiness. The mouthfeel is rather sticky with soft carbonation. Overall, this is a really solid American Tripel, it hits the classic notes with an emphasis on the spice, and some odd and uniques touches.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.91/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the growler via Jungle Jim's Eastgate in a snifter. This nice little tripel
pours a murky gold tinged amber with a moderate head of white foam that settles
to a thick ring, thin layer, and light lacing. Nose of light cracker, mild notes of pineapple
and mango, light herbal hops, yeasty bread, and light candy sugars. Flavors exceed the
nose with mango, light apple, and pineapple braced against a nice herbal hop that mellows
with warmth. Candy sugars and crackers hit on the middle to rear and fade into the back with
with a light banana note. Nice mouth feel, lightly slick with mild carbonation. Overall a nice
brew from a great brewery who makes some of the best stouts I have had.


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Photo of tlema1
3.01/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

L: cloudy orange/amber color, tight white head
S: I get Belgian yeast, and a little sourness
T: somewhat of a Trippel taste, but not fruity
F: very dry, weird after taste
O: I've enjoyed all Dark Horse beers that I've tasted...until this one

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Photo of Beginner2
3.41/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This is a good example of "stick to your knitting."
Dark Horse is known for its stouts and does well in the British tradition.
So, why does Dark Horse think that it can do as well in the Belgian tradition?
It has brewed this triple for a dozen years and its does not rank in the top 100.
That tells me something.
If I were a brewer (and I much prefer being a consumer), I would not try to do both traditions because the work would be too much and the experiments would cut into the profits made in the British tradition.

As for making suggestions to improve Sapient Trip Ale, I might start another tirade... so Keep It Sweet and Simple: stick to your knitting.

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Photo of BeernOnThe4thOfJuly
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy, nearly opaque copper color. Fruity, banana-ish nose with a definite Belgian quality. Flavor has a slight tang with a juicy fruitiness. Very mild for a tripel. Well-balanced. High ABV is well-hidden.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.76/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance : Pours a beautiful tropical orange glow, about 90% opaque with just enough light penetrating to see a faint shadow of my hand on the other side.The head is not being measured as it's in a small tulip glass, but it did pour pretty nice and currently has a ring sitting on top.

Smell : Some tropical notes - pineapple and papaya, along with some plum and fig. A light breadiness also accompanies the aroma. For the most part it is weak though, and hard to nose. Out of the bottle it smells mostly of tropical guava, blood orange, and pomegranate.

Taste : Hmmm. An interesting and complex flavor profile is presented here, beginning with a hoppy citrus backbone, complicated by yeast and cracker malts. Dark fruits and plum skin, blood orange, and slight honey butter follow shortly after. It waves goodbye on a dark fruit skin note, with more juiced citrus. It's not your typical Trippel, but it's got enough yeast presence to tell you it's Belgian-inspired.

Feel : Medium bodied mouth feel, somewhat watery but a small zap of carbonation underneath. It ends semi-dry.

Overall : This is really not a bad ale, I'd have it again...it's just very strange.

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Photo of Lynn
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is a very light-bodied tripel. It drinks more like a session IPA than a 9.5 percent Belgian Tripel. It may not be true to style in my opinion, but I'd still drink it again.

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Photo of TooGood
2.64/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Poured a cloudy murky lighting brown with floaties and sediment all over, looks like swamp water in a glass. Smell is fitting the style, but taste is very boozy and not too pleasant. I let it sit and warm up for a bit with no improvement so half went down the drain.

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Photo of lyman77
2.58/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep, very cloudy, amber. Muddy, almost. One finger of sudsy head.

Nose is typically belgian, pleasant and not overpowering. The taste, like the appearance, is a muddled, almost musty affair. Notes of banana, yeast, and cloves are there but not overpowering. A slight bitter finish lingers. The feel is creamy and smooth. It's quite boozy at over 9%.

Overall I didn't particularly enjoy this one. I opened one and didn't finish it. A rare pour for me.

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Photo of MaximalC
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a downright opaque burnt orange color with a modest cap of soapy, off-white suds. Fruity aroma smells of orange, lemon, banana, and clove, with hints of honey and bubblegum.

The first sip reveals significantly more bitterness than would have been suggested by the nose (or the style for that matter). Resinous hops distract from the taste of banana, bubblegum, honey, and citrus. The yeast gives some quintessential Belgian character to what is a less than quintessential tripel. In spite of the thick, cloudy appearance, the mouthfeel comes off as thin up front before stabilizing itself on the back end with the help of the yeast and carbonation.

Overall, this beer was a little disappointing considering the encouraging aroma and appearance. The taste has some good things to offer, but the high bitterness and thin mouthfeel ultimately underwhelm. I think I’ll stick to Dark Horse’s dark beers from here on out.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Dark Horse into shaker
Aroma spicy and yeasty
Head removed by bartender, white, frothy, diminishing to frothy ring and thin layer
Lacing excellent – curtains of tiny to medium bubbles
Body light yellow, cloudy
Flavor heavy with yeast phenolics and spice; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, watery, soft carbonation

Appearance 3.5, Aroma 4, Flavor 4, Palate 4, Overall 4

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Photo of Hopsbythebay
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Heady initial spice and clove flavor followed by a smooth banana, light citrus, and phenolic follow through. Solid tripel overall, smooth and complex.

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Photo of do_ob
4.01/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a snifter. A semi-aggressive pour yielded a 2 finger head that was an eggshell color. The beer itself is a cloudy, burnt amber. Banana, clove and spice, yeast, and sweet malt on the nose. Medium weight, and very creamy and smooth on the mouthfeel. Sour fruit, banana, and lots of spice up front on the taste. There's a strong, creeping banana flavor that gradually takes over and resides until the aftertaste. Finishes smooth and sweet.

Overall, pretty good. While tripels aren't my favorite style, I've liked everything I've had from Dark Horse, so I wanted to give this a try. I kinda wish I hadn't bought a 6 pack, but it's not bad. Better than the one I had with the bicycle on the logo.

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Photo of Immortale25
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Haw River Farmhouse Ales teku glass. Bottleneck says 3.27.14

A- Pours a medium amber color with a 1/4 inch off-white head that retains a bit before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a half sheet of sheer surface foam. Minimal lacing.

S- Tangy Belgian yeast aroma with some bready malt backing. Notes of overripe banana and spice.

T- Yeasty flavor with some notes of apple and pear. Smooth for the ABV but not a whole lot of complexity.

M- Sharp from the yeast and booze with medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the lighter side.

O- Pretty standard tripel but earns points for being so drinkable yet strong. Probably has something to do with the fact that it's over a year old which I didn't realize until just now. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the beer though, so I'm submitting the review.

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Photo of Tripel_Threat
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap in snifter glass. Looks like a tripel, smells like a tripel, tastes like a tripel. Hits all the notes without being exceptional. Decent, you could do worse, but there's a lot better tripels to reach for when the mood strikes.

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Photo of ovaltine
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look: aggressive pour into a Schell's snifter yields one finger of tan head. Body is cloudy golden beautifulness.

Smell: estery goodness - HUUUUUUUUUGE estery goodness.

Taste: the esters come flying through - this is more like a witbier with extra boozy goodness.

Feel: tangy, well carbed.

Overall: I like these guys, and this is a nice tripel, if maybe a bit too estery (is that a word?).

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Photo of alienlifeforcecube
3.56/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a hazy yellow. smells like a tripel. tastes like a tripel. there's a little bitterness at the end. overall, it's okay. i can't say i'd get it again when i'm in the mood for a tripel.

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Photo of delta490
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Even with a careful pour, its a murky orange with a thin creamy white head. A smudge of lacing hangs on. The aroma is lightly fruity and strongly cloves. There's also a hint of yeast. The taste follows in line with the aroma, with the cloves dominating. It gets old quickly. The body is a little thick but there is a nice little bit of carbonation. As tripels go, this one isn't terrible but it's certainly not a beer to go out of the way to find.

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Photo of KevChiTown
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nice take on a Tripel. I have never had a hop kick to go with the light fruity, bubble gum flavors before. Good beer, but this one has a bit to much sediment for my liking.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a murky amber with a one-finger sturdy white head. Lots of sticky lacing.

S - Aroma is yeasty with some floral hops.

T - The flavor is a mix of Belgian yeast, clove, and pear with a bitter hop bite in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Dry finish.

O - This was an interesting take on a Tripel. The hops tend to overshadow the subtleties of the Tripel.

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Photo of pat61
4.17/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: hazy orange, 1” head with very fine bubbles, rings of lace
S: malt and yeast aromas with some large pitted fruit and hints of citrus.
T: Peach, plum, slightly over ripe fruit, biscuit, medium hop bitter accent on the finish. M: very creamy, medium body, medium high carbonation.
O: You do not notice the alcohol while drinking this beer.

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Photo of Hophead777
4.04/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My perfect look to a fresh poured beer out of a tap. I drank it out of a 13.5 Belgian Snifter. This allowed the trip!! I loved this beer after a long day of work. The smell was hoppy and citrusy but not overwhelming in either area. This was an easy drinking hop in the back of the tongue beer. I loved the alcohol content while being so easy to drink. Which can be risky business!

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Photo of JJKBeerLvr
3.47/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into pint glass in February 2015.

Appearance: Deep amber, with nice thick and light colored head. The head lasted a pretty long time, and left a little coating on the inside of the glass.

Smell: Pleasant, with a strong influence of both a hops bitterness and a citrus sweetness in the aroma. There is some malty aroma, but the aroma is dominated by the hops and citrus aromas.

Taste: A nice balance of hops, herbs, and citrus flavors, that make for an interesting Belgian trippel, but with a strong bitterness from the hops. There is a nice after-taste with a hint of bitterness from the hops, which lasts for a while but not too long.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and crisp, with a medium body.

Overall: This is an interesting and complex Belgian trippel.

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Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
3.66 out of 5 based on 859 ratings.
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