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

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Lips of Faith: Anne-Françoise Spiced Imperial Dark AleLips of Faith: Anne-Françoise Spiced Imperial Dark Ale
BA SCORE
3.85/5
Very Good
Lips of Faith: Anne-Françoise Spiced Imperial Dark AleLips of Faith: Anne-Françoise Spiced Imperial Dark Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States
newbelgium.com

Style: Herb and Spice 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.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
41
Ratings:
112
pDev:
10.13%
 
 
Wants:
3
Gots:
14
Trade:
0
 
User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 112
Photo of Proteus93
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This was one of a few beers picked up at Craft Beer Nation in Red Deer, AB. It was listed as having a best before date of May 28, 2017, making this a little over a year beyond its intended date. With that full disclosure aside, writing this will take that into consideration and make an assumption that it has aging potential.

A: Pours a deep amber, quite hazy--this could possibly be chill haze, but it's tough to say for certain. Head is a couple centimeters, though retention is strong and it leaves some sticky lace lattice around the edges, even before consumption.

S + T: The aroma here is quite complex and I would imagine that, given the age of the beer, much of the hop profile has faded. It doesn't seem to do any harm, however, and I note an interesting 'wintergreen' scent--almost minty. There are some fruity notes--something a little citrusy in there. Additionally, some soft malts blend in the background. The flavor is quite similar, especially the subtle, minty flavours. There's a peppery note that gives it a hint of spiciness.

M + O: The body is a little light, and carbonation adds a peppy zip. It does manage to leave a bit of a lingering taste on the tail end that I find quite pleasant. It's a pretty nice blend, and the added age doesn't appear to have a negative effect on the beer--it has likely mellowed out and allowed some of the more subtle flavours to come out.

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Photo of DavidR_9
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoy by date very faded but I think it says 28 MAY17. However, at 9.5% abv, this brew should be able to age.

Pours a brown- dark amber body with an off-white head, quickly dissipates to a thin layer of scattered foam. Nice lacing along the glass. Super soft aroma, almost undetectable when cold but after a while I caught some cherry syrupy notes with a hint of white oak and bready malts. Taste is first a semi strong wave of vegetal spruce tip flavor paired with a semi sweet malty breadiness which is then followed by a delicate peppery and citrus note, which I assume comes from the grains of paradise. The citrus note quickly evolves into more of a cherry syrupy kind of note. The white oak spirals are virtually undetectable for me, it may help impart a slight earthiness to the brew but I believe it may have helped most in the delicate aroma. Overall, the flavors are very subtle and sort of blanket over one another in delicate layers. Very thin mouthfeel for such a big beer, but the brew is still fairly active and tingly.

This beer truly does make me think of the forest and tastes extremely unique. The flavors certainly grew on me, especially as the brew warmed up. Not an everyday brew for me but certainly one worth trying. Plus it’s a very interesting collaboration!

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Photo of jwilcox767
4.39/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Dark brown body (semi-opaque), slight tan head.
S - Excellent spice, cherry, rosated malt notes.
T - Lots of herbal spiciness up-front. Taste lingers for a bit, pleasant though.
M - Sticky/sweet open, medium amount of carbonation, subtle close.
O - Impressive spice/herb execution while still retaining it's aleness. The aroma may put some people off, but everything worked for me.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a medium to dark reddish orange with a half finger white head that dissipates to a thin film with nice lacing. Aroma of bready malt and an odd vegetal spicy smell that was hard to parse, but must be the influence of the grains of paradise; little pure alcohol at the end. Flavor is cherry cordial, candi malt, spice similar to coriander, light oak; finishes with mixed fruit esters including the cherry again with a spicy, but cherry cola semi-sweet finish. Medium bodied with light creaminess. An odd take on the Belgian ale style most similar to a dubbel, but with much more influence of fruit esters, probably from the yeast. The cherry flavor almost veers into cherry cough syrup territory because of the general spiciness and robust ABV, but is redeemed by the solid malt, which does not have much individual flavor, but supports the spices and yeast esters well. I was not able to detect the influence of spruce bows, but they must contribute to the overall spiciness. One of those beers that seems to be headed for the precipice of oddness, but ends up satisfying and interestingly drinkable. The aroma was almost off-putting and the cherry notes were odd at first but this one grew on me as I drank it. One of the better and fun to drink ales from this series.

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Photo of Libeertarian
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

From notes taken 04/22/17:

Dark metallic copper moving toward ruby, seems clear but this bulbous glassware obscures it a little. Golden-tan, medium-retaining but easily reactivated head, heavy froth. Lace looks like Northern Canada, a lot of small islands, a few larger territories and peninsulas in a giant bay. Light vegetal aromas, like peas or green beans. Almost reminds me of a Fat Tire that sat in the sun too long. Not really my thing, but not god-awful either. Besides that, a little toasted grain, spice, and some booze. Palate is, unfortunately, not much different. Wanted something that tasted dark and spicy and instead I got beans, peas, nuts, and a bitterness that does little to balance or entice. It’s still not awful, and I’m sure it’ll grow on me at least a little once I tease out some subtleties. Ah yes, booze, and — as advertised — pine (spruce tips). Yeah, those are there behind the vegetal nuttiness. As are toffee, and some soily, peppery spices that the label tells me are Grains of Paradise (in over a year of searching, I’ve not seen these for sale anywhere besides online, what gives?), but also perhaps some hops. Oh, and anise or caraway in the finish. Those would be good in a beer with either more sweetness to it or more toasted bread character. Some pepper besides the Grains of Paradise on the finish. Ok, so the flavor is better than the smell if you pay close enough attention. Medium-bodied, tingly and velvety to almost nitrous effervescence. Not as warm as expected, it’s well hidden amidst the vegetable flavors and spices. I really hated to be critical of this, and it’s not nasty, but it’s nowhere near as exciting as everything the label suggests. The imperial nature of this beer is too easy to ignore, the spices aren’t that great and do little to balance the beer from its overly vegetal nature. Above average points for appearance and mouthfeel, but I have to dock everything else for how similar to a warm Fat Tire it is. I love New Belgium, and much they have to offer, whether standbys or exclusives, but Fat Tire, though drinkable, and even enjoyable when chilled like a lager, has always been a lousy flagship in my estimation. In fairness, that brewery is not the only one that shoves the same mediocre beer down my throat whenever I purchase a sampler 12-pack. I can certainly name names, I’m sure you know some of whom I’m referring to. Ok, I got off on a tangent, but it was much needed. This isn’t the one beer from NB that I could have gone off like this on, but it happens to be one I had much higher expectations for, given how amazing other collaborative efforts and the rest of the Lips of Faith series were. Not to mention the style itself.

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Photo of Dsimenson
4.46/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Draft poured into a New Belgium goblet.
A: medium brown and clear, tan head that fades to thick and tenacious lacing
S: prunes, malt, a bit of hay, a hint of the alcohol
T: malt, hops that seem a bit herbal rather than citrus, blackberries and prunes, a bit of pine or maybe mahogany, alcohol, mildly sweet, very well-balanced, rich and complex
M: smooth, creamy, medium thick
O: outstanding, incredible, just erased all the tension from driving for the last ten hours, an exceptional experience

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Photo of craigbelly
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This has an almost layered like approach much like a quad. Tastes nothing like a quad mind you, I just feel it drinks like one. Taste here is leathery, peppery, zesty. Finishes with a nice even mouth feel.

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Photo of Shanex
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured the 12oz bottle into a teku glass

It's a very good herb beer, would recommend. A tad pricey, yet worth it

It was my first at New Belgium and not disappointed. Long live American CRAFT! Cheers

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Photo of Shade1951
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice dark amber color - little head to speak of. As for smell, maybe it's just me, but I smell almost nothing. Well, at least there's nothing weird or offensive.

The flavor is quite good, though. I get maybe figs, dark fruit, a bit of spice. Alcohol doesn't overwhelm. Good carbonation, medium body.

I wouldn't go out of my way to find this again - but I would definitely pick up a bottle or two if I came across it.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.35/5  rDev -13%
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 +4.4%
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 +7.5%
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 +6.5%
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 -2.6%
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 +2.9%
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 +12.5%
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 +8.1%
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 +3.6%
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 -19.7%
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 -8.8%
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 TonyLema1
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
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 -9.1%
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.

RJT

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Photo of Todd
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
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 zeff80
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Poured out a very dark amber color with a small, khaki-colored head of foam. It smelled of spruce, pine, spices and roasted malt. Tasted of spruce/pine with toasted caramel and maltiness.

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Photo of jabergess
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
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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Lips of Faith: Anne-Françoise Spiced Imperial Dark Ale from New Belgium Brewing
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 112 ratings