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

Lips of Faith: Anne-Françoise Spiced Imperial Dark AleLips of Faith: Anne-Françoise Spiced Imperial Dark Ale
Liked This Beer
3.86 w/ 102 Ratings
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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 102 |  Reviews: 38
Photo of travelguy
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jwilcox767
4.39/5  rDev +13.7%
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 98green
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of brauseboof
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
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 -13.7%
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 +15.5%
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

 495 characters

Photo of Metalsnota
4.24/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of craigbelly
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
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 ckollias
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of bwarren82
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of NolaHopHead
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Like old leather, but in a good way. Very interesting way.

59 characters

Photo of JakeScully
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
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

 202 characters

Photo of Shade1951
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
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 GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.35/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

 596 characters

Photo of Zach136
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of sisterofba
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of EMV
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
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 +7.3%
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 Marklaker
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Calraven
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Howlader
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of BarrelAgedG
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of drtth
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

 1,571 characters

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Lips of Faith: Anne-Françoise Spiced Imperial Dark Ale from New Belgium Brewing
Beer rating: 73.5% out of 100 with 102 ratings
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