Lips of Faith: Anne-Françoise Spiced Imperial Dark Ale | New Belgium Brewing

very good
31 Reviews
Lips of Faith: Anne-Françoise Spiced Imperial Dark AleLips of Faith: Anne-Françoise Spiced Imperial Dark Ale

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This Lips of Faith was brewed in collaboration with Anne-Françoise Pypaert of Villers-Devant-Orval. Dry-hopped and spiced with spruce tips and Grains of Paradise and aged on white oak spirals.

Added by superspak on 07-02-2016

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Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 87
Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.35/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very pretty ruby color with some blushing rosy highlights when held to the light. Head is a slim ring but a welcome sight.

Aroma is mostly stiff alcohol with some hints of prunes, oak, and aromatic dark malts.

Flavor is a touch too woody for me, with some washed out grape sucker and prune juice. Some metallic notes and hot alcohol burn follow.

Feel is hot and boozy, very carbonated, with a balanced dry-buzzing finish.

Overall, it's not great, but worth trying if you're really that curious. For me it's like sucking a grape sucker that's been rolled in wood chips and left in a still.

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Photo of EMV
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Mostly clear dark mahogany brown pour. 1.5 fingers of off-white head leave great lacing.

S: Caramel malts and spice. Spruce and vanilla... complex and festive.

T/F: Rich caramel and toffee character to the malts. Definite sweetness cut by a dry spice. The spruce comes through... peppery... vanilla from the oak aging. Zesty... syrupy. Medium body. Good carbonation. The finish is a bit of toffee and spice.

O: Different... very tasty, prominent spice but not overpowering letting the flavor of the underlying beer as well as the barrel come forward. A nice brew... will drink 2 and cellar 2 for some vertical goodness. Way better than I've come to expect from New Belgium.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

As I have been winnowing down the Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody, I have been making concerted efforts to do brewery-oriented horizontals whenever possible. Not only is it possible for me with New Belgium, but I have eighteen (18) beers to get through. Stand by!

From the bottle: "Aged on white oak spirals"; "In collaboration with Anne-Françoise Pypaert [of] Villers-Devant-Orval"; "Spiced Ale brewed with spruce tips and aged on oak spirals": "Our brewmaster, Peter Bouckaert and Belgian brewmaster, Anne-Françoise Pypaert found inspiration in the forest for this bright, dry-hopped ale brewed with spruce tips and Grains of Paradise and aged on white oak spirals."

I Pop!ped the cap & despite it being a fresh bottle, I have begun to embrace a gentle pour followed by an in-glass swirl. I was met by two fingers of big, foamy, rocky, light-tan head that stood up & then sat down, leaving great lacing in its wake. Color was Brown to Dark Brown (SRM = > 22, < 27) with NE-quality clarity & coppery highlights. Nose smelled like a liquefied spice cake, bready with loads of spices, kind of reminiscent of treacle and/or anise. Mmm. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was rather an oddball, very malty & bready with a cool mintiness and a bitter spiciness, very much of treacle and anise, but mixed with spearmint or wintergreen. My bottle had not yet reached its embossed "Best By" date, but I think that this one has a lot of room to age. Finish was semi-dry, very much like liquefied spice cake. I liked it well enough now, but the potential for it to age quite nicely was evident. Buy one for now & one for later.

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Photo of drtth
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The dark reddish amber beer pours out into a Snifter glass with a 1/4” light tan head that soon recedes leaving only a ring around the glass and a thin film and several irregular peaks of foam on the surface. By about half way through the beer the sides of the glass have lots of clinging small speckles and there is only a single thin, irregular island of foam. Sipping creates scattered patches and small legs of lacing along with an arch of lacing.

The aromas include a complex mixture of spruce tinged with what seems to be cherry and citrus. There’s also some woodiness, a bit of peppery spice and some light earthy notes.

Some of the flavors are as expected from the nose. There is a rich malt base with its touch of sweetness. There are also some spruce, cherry notes and earthy notes. There’s a noticeable hint of citrus, and some touches of woody, peppery and spicy character.

The mouth feel is medium bodied and smooth with the light but persistent carbonation. The finish begins as the sweetness, the spruce tinged with cherry and the citrus fade, leaving behind the woody, peppery, spicy notes to fade into a dry and slightly bitter, earthy ending that also has a degree of peppery warmth.

Overall this is an interesting beer with a great deal of complexity and unfamiliar flavor combinations. I'd like to try it again sometime so as to be able to spend more time sorting things out. That said it's not a beer I'd choose to add to my rotation and I suspect that I'd not be going out of my way to look for more if they were to brew it again.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle picked up at the COOP.. refrigerated since purchase... Pours clear chestnut.. hints of cocoa among dark toast and dry dark fruity Belgian esters.... oakiness helps dry things out and round out a beer that is sorta all over the place. Pretty tasty and very complex, but I think I am probably not in the mood for a beer like this tonight.

All 3.75s

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Photo of arizcards
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from TW Arrowhead in mid-November for $3.99. Enjoy by 28MAY17.

Beer poured amber burgundy with a nice white head with the initial pour.

Nose was light fruity esters.

Taste was dark fruits over a huge malt base accentuated by a touch of bitterness from the spruce tips and grains of paradise.

Mouthfeel was classic Belgian yeast strain, very light across the palate and smooth.

Overall a solid brew that i would have again.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Wicked Weed snifter. Label says Enjoy By: 28MAY17.

A- Pours a reddish medium brown color with a 1/2 inch light tan head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of sheer surface foam. Resilient lacing leaves large clots behind.

S- Sweet cherry-like aroma with some yeasty quality and a bit of booze.

T- Somewhat sweet flavor with toasted malt and spice characteristic. Great balance as the ABV is superbly well-hidden. Has some oak to it as well as some dark fruit like cherry and plum.

M- Slightly creamy with medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.

O- What a great BSDA. I wasn't going to try it but I kept hearing people rave about it so I got a single. I may just get a 4-pack because this is one of the best Belgian beers I've had in recent memory.

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Photo of MMOSNN
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Look - dark-cherry red in color, two-finger off-white head, and nice lacing.
Smell - orange, coriander, tart cherry, sweet caramel and bready malts.
Taste - orange and cherry hit hardest with a mix of sweet and tart notes, along with coriander spice, yeast and malts round out the foundation.
Feel - good carbonation, slightly thin body, smooth finish.
Overall, this makes for an interesting Belgian dark since orange is most prominent, but it definitely works. I also like the cherry notes, but it could use more body.

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Photo of chinchill
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at WoB in Florida.
Clear dark reddish brown body. Very good tan head. Excellent lacing.
Aroma: remarkably good balance of grain, fruit and light spice notes.
Flavor: sweet, but not overly so, and lightly fruity. Delicious. Hints of dates, cinnamon, chocolate.
Feel: exceptionally smooth, full body with good carbonation.
Overall: unique and definitely recommended.

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Photo of Tre1994
3.09/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

Nice dark amber color contrasting with a clean white head. Sweet smell that is more reminiscent of a Weißbier than a dark ale. Taste is also sweet without bitterness or alcohol. Very thin mouthfeel, ghostly mouthfeel. Overall, I would take this beer over most, but I would not recommend it for deep contemplation.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.51/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle - $3.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a fairly dark, fairly clear, amber-brown body with a half-inch of yellowish foam.

Smell: Toasty dark breadiness, molasses and chocolate for a somewhat cola-like nose. Add in the cherryish fruitiness and make that a somewhat cherry cola-like nose. Flecked with some peppery spice hints.

Taste: Dark breads, toasted and brushed with a thin glaze of molasses. Hint of cocoa follows, as does a bit of ground nuts. Tartish fruitiness, hinting of cherries and red currants, though also some citrus. Fairly spiced, what with the GoP and tannic, zesty oaken quality, but also a quasi mint-flavored bubblegum vibe. Drying, lightly malty finish with lingering spice elements and a bit of alcoholic heat (otherwise it hides its booze notably well).

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Overall: Just okay, it makes me wish I'd bought a bottle of Orval instead.

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Photo of tlema1
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: reddish brown, frothy head with great lacing
S: oak and Belgian yeast
T: oak, chocolate, spices
F: boozy, oaky, good mouthfeel
O: I really enjoy this beer, highly recommend

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Into a schooner, this beer has a thin-to-medium soapy, ivory head, a semi-clear, brown, bubbly appearance, with powdery sediment, throughout, and good lacing left behind. The aroma is of fairly strong brown bread crust and, perhaps, cherry juice? Taste is of spiced brown bread, currants, red cherry, spices, relatively low bitterness, and a touch of vanilla. Chocolate? Maybe, chocolate powder. Mouthfeel is low medium, and New Belgium/Orval Spiced Imperial Dark Ale finishes mostly dry and not boozy. But, you'll feel it, even if you don't taste it.


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Photo of Todd
4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Toasty, Oaky, Spicy, Boozy

Brewed in collaboration with Anne-Françoise Pypaert of Villers-Devant-Orval, this beer is dry-hopped and spiced with spruce tips and grains of paradise and then aged on white oak spirals. Coppery-amber colored with a solid beige head and lace. Soft fruits, spruce, and an underlying vinous quality in the aroma. Creamy and slightly syrupy on the palate. Toasty with a deep toffee flavor, suggestions of brown sugar, vanilla, and almonds, a bright splash of citrus, berries, and an intense pepperiness. Spruce tips are nicely blended in, adding layers of resin, earth, and cedar. Very boozy with white spirit-like flavor permeating and lingering for quite some time. Dry, bready, and sugary in the finish. Deliciously creative and sort of like eating booze-soaked spiced bread. Seasons Greetings in a bottle!

As reviewed in BeerAdvocate magazine #120 (January 2017).

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Photo of jabergess
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had in a 10 oz tulip glass on draft at Old Chicago
Look - Medium brown, smallish head that disappeared quickly
Smell - I hate this question because beer is served too cold to adequately answer this for darker beers until they warm up. Once warmed up I would say mostly caramel notes.
Taste - Initially the same as the smell - with some spice notes. Nothing really stands out.
It is 9.5%. I think it hides this pretty well. There is nothing particularly standoutish about this beer yet it is easy to drink and pretty good.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.23/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Aroma is mainly medium caramel malt, a little wood & a flat phenol spice. Not particularly flavorful, just some more phenol that lacks depth or dimension, some pedestrain malt grain & maybe some oak. I could not discern any spruce on either the tongue or nose. Somewhat thin but good carbonation. By no means a bad beer, just lackluster.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a New Belgium Globe glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep brownish amber with a moderate amount of bubbles. Slight finger of off white head which settles into a thin creamy layer.

Smell: A sweet and spicy Belgian style aroma with a scent of caramel, oak, roast, and spices. Belgian yeast with a scent of pepper, clove, and funk. Hints of oak and spruce tips. Some lightly roasted malt hints of chocolate, caramel, toast, biscuit, and grains. Sherry like hints with some cherry and berry fruit. Also some hints of candied sugar and spicy hops. A pretty solid aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a sweet and spicy Belgian style taste with notes of caramel, oak, spices, and roast. Belgian yeast with notes of clove, peppers, and funk. Good notes of oak along with some spruce tips and grains of paradise. Roasted malt with some notes of chocolate along with caramel, toffee, toast, grains, and biscuit. Some sweet fruit notes of cherry and berries. Sweet taste of candied sugar. Also some light spicy hop notes. A pretty nice taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy and smooth with a drying finish.

Overall: A pretty solid take on a Dark Belgian ale. Nice mix of spices and fruit notes.

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Photo of atr2605
3.52/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-pours a deep reddish amber with an off white head with decent retention and some lacing
S-cinnamon, clove, caramel, dark fruit, yeasty
T-lots of dark fruit, biscuit, and more spices in the finish
M-medium bodied and smooth
O-Worth trying but definitely would not seek out again

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

12 ounce bottle into signature globe glass, best before 5/28/2017. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy reddish orange/copper color with a 1 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange, cherry, plum, golden raisin, peach, apricot, melon, apple, peppercorn, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, spruce, oak, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, herbal, floral, light chocolate/nuttiness, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of fruity/earthy yeast, spruce/spice, oak, citrus/earthy hops, and dark/bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big grapefruit, orange, cherry, plum, golden raisin, peach, apricot, melon, apple, peppercorn, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, spruce, oak, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, herbal, floral, light chocolate/nuttiness, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Moderate yeast spiciness and light-moderate herbal/piney hop bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, cherry, plum, golden raisin, peach, apricot, melon, apple, peppercorn, cinnamon, clove, spruce, oak, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, herbal, floral, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Great complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, spruce/spice, oak, citrus/earthy hops, and dark/bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitter/spiciness balance, and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from bitter/spiciness, increasing through the glass. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately grainy/bready/sticky, fairly crisp, and slightly resinous balanced mouthfeel that is great. Minimal warming alcohol for 9.5%. Overall this is a great spiced Belgian strong dark ale! All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, spruce/spice, oak, citrus/earthy hops, and dark/bready malt flavors; very smooth, crisp, and easy to sip on for the big ABV. Definitely a lot going on with this one in flavor complexity; but it all comes together extremely well. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
4.24/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into chalice: color is transparent amber; head presents huge with just a minor quick pour, then lingers well with at least 1/2 inch top; head is light tan/off white, with fine to small bubbles, very nice lacing of the head on the glass sides.

Smell is subtle, simple but very enticing: nice deep malt with some light fig, then light spice hints of cinnamon most noticeable; subtle belgian yeast phenols and some light breadiness. Hard to pin point spruce tips, but still very enticing aroma.

Taste is also simple, subtle but a lingering complexity creates a unique brew: flavor starts as moderate maltiness but not over sweet or too much chocolate, just simple lightly caramelized malt, then some light fig and raisin like flavors present. Finishing flavor might peak the spruce but then its overtaken by the fig and phenol of the yeast.

Mouthfeel is a hint sharp - maybe the bitterness of the spruce tips coming through without the flavor or aroma; otherwise moderate carbonation but stronger bitter flavor on the tongue.

Overall an excellent beer - a different take on the winter/spice style with clean spice, great caramel malt with a lean towards munich style flavor and just enough yeast phenol character. My only miss is the the lack of spruce in aroma and taste, though it seems to be there as a bittering quality.

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Photo of stevoj
4.11/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Grunt fill from WinCo. Dark brown / mahogany pour, small skin of bubbly head. Aroma hints at Belgian yeast and winter spice. Taste comes in fuller, dubbel / quad flavors, pit fruit, Clove. Slight warming, fruitcake essences. Nice collab.

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Photo of FBarber
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours reddish brown with almost no head. Clear and crisp to the eye. Pretty unremarkable.

Smell has notes of clove, cinnamon, mint, and oak. Very grainy and cereal like on the back end.

Taste follows the nose with a strong grain and cereal malt base that is ever present. Some notes of clove, cinnamon, mint, licorice, sweet cherries and some strong piney bitterness and oak on the back end. Its surprisingly sweet.

Feel is smooth, well carbonated. Dry finish lingers on the tongue.

Overall it was an enjoyable beer, but I don't think I'd care to drink it again.

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours a clear amber ruby with a large head. The aroma offers up fig, candied fruit, clove, mincemeat, cinnamon, and other candied, Christmassy aromas. The flavor is also heavy on candied notes, but it is not sweet. There is plenty of fig, black cherry, and chocolate as well. The mouthfeel is smooth, and reminiscent of poorly set jello. Overall this is not what I expected, but I do find it very enjoyable. It has a good balance of fruitiness and spiciness, and some very of-the-season flavors.

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Photo of Harrison8
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark plum with a finger of khaki-colored head. Head retention is nice, but moderate at best. Lacing webs around the glass well. Aroma opens with a fruit jam note, slight spices help set of a hint of Belgian yeast, and biscuit malts. Aroma has a fruity, tart smell to it overall. Strawberry jam opens up the flavor profile, before morphing into notes of milk chocolate, cocoa nibs, Belgian yeast spice, and cinnamon spices. While it opens sweet, it does balance well with a slightly spicy (not hot spicy) finish. Mouth feel is smooth, with a medium-thin consistency. Particulate and carbonation do give the feel a bit of harshness, which mellows out slightly as the glass warms. Overall, its a beer with some fun and funky notes to enjoy. It is on the different side of things, but it is Lips of Faith after all. All said and done, it's well put together and balanced.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of Suds
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle, served in a Belgian chalice, this brew is a clear ruby brown color with an off-white, foamy head. The aroma is a little delicate...brown sugar, dark fruit (cherry, plumb), and some yeast and malt. The taste has a light Belgian note, with rum-soaked raisins. The body is full, with a plenty of spice in the finish. I liked it.

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Lips of Faith: Anne-Françoise Spiced Imperial Dark Ale from New Belgium Brewing
3.84 out of 5 based on 87 ratings.
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