White Birch Barrel Aged Tripel | White Birch Brewing

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White Birch Barrel Aged TripelWhite Birch Barrel Aged Tripel
59 Ratings
White Birch Barrel Aged TripelWhite Birch Barrel Aged Tripel

Brewed by:
White Birch Brewing
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Belgian Tripel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.65%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
2009 – Our Tripel aged in a barrel for an extended period of time. Belgian esters and light fruit notes meld with a smooth vanilla and oak to create a rich smooth sipping beer. Our first batch rings in at 11.65%, medium bodied with a smooth finish.

2010 – Aged in Pinot Noir and Merlot barrels. Each of the seven barrels we used are from the same vintage of wine.

Unlike wine makers, we did not blend the contents from each barrel together. Rather choosing to let the subtle and unique differences from each barrel stand on their own.

Each barrel is recognized on the label as batch PN1 through PN6, and M1. Meaning Pinot Noir barrel 1 through Pinot Noir barrel 6. and Merlot barrel 1.

Pinot Noir barrels 1 through 3 have a nice soft fruit note. Barrels 4 through 6 have a softer wine note and more of a sharp oak flavor from the barrel. The Merlot barrel has a rich, sharp Merlot note, soften by our Tripel, with hints of oak.

Added by chinabeergeek on 10-20-2009

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 59 |  Reviews: 36
Reviews by deltatauhobbit:
Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.05/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Caged and corked 750ml
Batch PN2 (means Pinot Noir barrel #2)
Bottled November 2010
Bottle 181 of 276
Alcohol = 10.5%

Pours a light straw color with a wicked good amount of haze to it, little paler than most Tripels, very small fizzy head that fades fast and leaves no lacing whatsoever, I do love me some haze though and from the first pour it's not a result of floaties.

Smell has a lemony zest to it coupled with the typical Belgian yeast spice, very citrusy and a light fruit aroma such as grapes.

Taste is more like a non-sour Berliner Weissbier was mixed with a glass of Chardonnay, the lemony citrus is very prevalent, the spiciness starts in the citrus, then after the spiciness comes a dry finish coupled with a light fruit presence of grapes and maybe pear, carbonation is high and assertive but is appropriate for the style, although the carbonation is assertive it is still very soft in the mouth, strength is well hidden other than a white wine like sharpness that hits the sides of the tongue immediately after swallowing, the body is light and crisp and the Belgian candied sweetness is not cloying so this beer always remains refreshing.

Not sure the hate going on with this beer, just because it's "barrel aged" does not mean it's "bourbon barrel" so you probably shouldn't be looking for those nonexistent flavors, although I will say the barrel aging has a light touch.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Mac19872
4/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of Janeinma
3.75/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: hazy reddish amber, 2” head quickly dissipates into a thick film. S: Has some apple brandy on the nose. T: Very creamy sweet apple brandy palate joined by large pitted fruit, vanilla, and a hop finish that provides bitterness into the after taste. F: Medium to medium light body and medium low carbonation. O: With its lower carbonation this drinks like a cross between a wine and a beer. More carbonation would give it more of a beer character. It is also a little on the sweet side which additional carbonation might also tone down.

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Photo of glid02
3.97/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Joe - thanks!

Pours a muddy golden color with a one-finger white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of grainy light malts with good amounts of pear and lighter amount of alcohol. Also present are mild amounts of vanilla and hints of earthy oak aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Light malt flavors with good amounts of ripe pears kick things off. Midway through the sip the malt flavors turn grainy and hints of vanilla make an appearance. The ending is slightly muddled and a light alcohol burn hits the back of the throat after the sip, although at over 11.5% it's fairly well hidden.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall this is one of the better beers I've had from WB. Even so, I feel as though the base beer wasn't well-refined however the barrel smoothed it out quite a bit. Worth a shot to see for yourself.

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Photo of alamode
4/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of nickd717
3.45/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared at the after-Bruery tasting. Wow, for all the hype surrounding this brewery as of late, this one fell a bit flat.

Pours cloudy golden with a white head and decent lacing.

Aroma is sweet with pale malt, Belgian yeast, honey, fruity esters, and spice.

Flavor is really sweet with not terribly much to it. Pale malt, banana, honeydew melon, spice, and oak.

Medium body with lasting sweetness on the palate.

Drinkability is pretty good. Overall, this was only ok. Will give these White Birch guys another shot, although I'm thinking their hype may be a little unwarranted.

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Photo of bum732
2/5  rDev -40.7%

Photo of puboflyons
3.42/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the 25 fl. oz. corked bottle dated November 2010, Batch PN1, and #93 of 276. Sampled on April 26, 2011. It has been shelved for six months. It pours a cloudy yellow tone with a short-lived fizzy white head and a whole lot of bubbling carbonation almost like champagne. The aroma is full of malts, yeast, sweet sugars, and overripe fruit. I was a bit disappointed about the thin body but the taste was also nicely balanced with malts, yeast, sweet sugar, pepper, and lemon zest. This one seems to have generated a number of bad reviews which is unusual for White Birch. I will admit that some of their beers are better but this one holds its own very well.

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Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A corked and caged 750 mL from Bert's Better Beers over a year ago. Aged out nicely, I hope.

A: The tripel, I'm guessing, didn't spend time in any red wine barrels (despite the 'PN' on the label that I assumed to be Pinot Noir), a golden yellow that is radiantly clear. A wispy white head, a thin webbing, rests in the center of the glass.

S: A medicinal lactic aroma, almost Berlinner-like, leaves off. It's not exactly tripel material but it is that White Birch house aroma. The oak is fast on its heels, bringing a vanilla laiden aroma and plenty of wood to the stage. I'd go so far as to say that the age has done the beer some good.

T: Well-carbonated, the bubbles jump around quite a bit. The house flavor is here, can't really avoid it I suppose, popping up immediately after the bubbles subside and then again in the finish. The middle of the sip is the highlight, where the barrel coalesces against ale. Vanilla and oak are present, not overpowering, and help draw some of the sugary candi flavors out of the tripel. As the tripel settles in to room temperatiure, the flavors mature nicely. The tripel's sweet strength is obvious, a warmth that pairs nicely with the oak barrel. A good tripel by the end; the barrel doing nice work.

M: Easily one of the best that I've had from White Birch, the oak and tripel taking their time to emerge. When they do, the candi sugars, strength and oak come together nicely.

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Photo of MisterSH
4.97/5  rDev +47.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm thrilled to try this beer, which is beautifully waxed and sold for $14.99. Mega-props to Rpstevens for the hook up on this one...
I've got bottle 111 of 228, batch one. Bottled on Oct. 6, 2009, it's now December 14. Considering that it's clocking in at 11.65%, I'd say this bottle's about a day old in "beer years" - fresh indeed. I'm pouring it into a Fin Du Monde tulip. I'm typing as I go.

After cracking the wax, a rather aggro-pour yeilds a rather gray-tinged, hazy golden brew with a nice puffy head. The beer seems tinted with a color that one would imagine resembles the hue of the barrel in which it was aged. Nice.

Inserting my nose into the top of the glass and inhaling brings a very sweet, tantalizing fruity bouquet of grapefruit, banana, yeast, and an extremely whiskey-like vanilla oakiness. There is very strong alcohol aroma, leaving the overall impression quite spirit-like, exquisitely complex and formidable at once.

Taste is exceptional! Wow. I'm greeted with a delicious vanilla flavor, backing up a mouthfull of sweet, smooth and delicious fruity and spirit notes. Very strong estery taste with bits of apricot, sweet grapefruit (although not in a hoppy way), banana, and pineapple ushers me into an extremely warm, slightly bittered, and rather dry finish with lingering alcohol flavors. This makes me think of some sort of tripel-spirit hybrid. Some nutty, slightly earthy yeast undertones are present upon further investigation and are most apparent in the aftertaste, as are some fleetingly subtle hints of warm bread. Alcohol is prominent. I wouldn't call it well hidden, rather, it's a well integrated and actually essential flavor that asserts itself at just the right moments, and falls back into the crowd exactly when you want it to, before rearing it's head up again full force on the finish. Reminiscent of a really good whiskey in this regard.

Mouthfeel is perfect - dead on. Nice, strong, but gentle carbonation effervesces on the tongue and really drives every bit of the flavor home, scrubbing it into your tastebuds without a single bit of extra force. The beer is actually somewhat thick, a sensation that is completely balanced by the carbonation and manifests itself only as a sort of robust and very satisfying whole-mouth feeling. The combination of carbonation and thick body results in an exceptional creaminess that compliments the vanilla notes in beer perfectly. This is one of the first times I've ever felt like a beer's feel in the mouth was actively adding too and working in harmony with the beer's flavors.

Wow, wow, wow. I can't say enough about this beer. Probably the best brew I've tried all year and certainly on my current list of top beers ever. I tried a small dixie-cup sized sample of the "regular" white birch tripel several months back and was duly impressed. This is in another league entirely. The strongly alcoholic, spiritesque strength and warmth of this beer might keep the drinkability "down," that is if you're thinking of drinkability in a bud-light, tailgate party sense. But that would be a disgrace to this beer anyway, and as far as I'm concerned, slowly savoring this bomber over an hour or two will be absolutely no chore and makes this beer as drinkable as any.

My highest praise to this masterpiece.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.83/5  rDev +43.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A huge thanks to Bill for making sure that I get to try this one. I used this one to cap off my night, and boy what a night it was. Bottle number 5 of the first batch, red wax capped and all. This one was served at cellar temp and consumed on 11/13/2009 in a nice snifter glass.

The pour was perfect. Rich light golden in color with a light tint of reddish to it, though that maybe my eyes. Lots of cloudiness in this one for sure though with a huge billowing head of white that rises up to at least three inches before falling back down to a somewhat reasonable level. Not before dropping tons of lacing all over the sides and the bottom of the glass though.

Then I reach in to find out whats going on with the character of this one, holy crap we have a winner. Huge notes of vanilla and woody tones, light buttery malts and droves of fig like notes great me. Vanilla tones just dominate though, really just immense aroma. Warming starts to bring out some more lighter notes, peaches, light citrus tones, hints of grape skin. I cannot resist any more though and I must go in for a taste. Blown away now. I get smacked with tons of vanilla and bourbon notes right off the bat. Just melting my palate and making me sink into the chair. Simply amazing the transformation this beer has undergone in the barrel. Subtle notes of fruit coming through now, pears and plums, light tart like grape flavors, but mostly woody and vanilla just overloading your senses. Again I let it warm to bring out more subtle flavors and hints of light citrus now start popping up, drying the plate and leaving just a touch of tart across the tongue. Carbonation is active and lively, giving it a fine, subtle and smooth feel. Now hint of the alcohol that lies within, I am amazed by this. The flavor just wrapped it all together just perfectly. Finish the bottle with ease and was shocked that I almost looked for more.

Overall I have to say this may be my favorite of Bill;s creations to date. It just is done perfectly. The vanilla and wood flavors play off the light fruit in the natural triple flavor soo well I cannot put into words how good of a job he has done on this one. Cannot wait to see what else he pulls out of those barrels. Great job here.

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Photo of IdrinkGas
3/5  rDev -11%

Photo of richbrew
3/5  rDev -11%

Photo of weeare138
3.92/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to josh for this...
Appears a light gold with a little white cap that fades into a mild cap and collar. Scattered spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of vanilla, oak, apple, pineapple, mango, peach, and nectarines.
Taste is of the aromas with smooth vanilla, McIntosh apples, caramel, oak, and smooth, melted sugar.
Mouthfeel is swet, medium full bodied, boozy, hot, evident abv, and smacking of oaky tannins.

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Photo of ZacharyJ
4/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of GbVDave
4.15/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a crown capped, oxblood colored wax sealed, 22oz bottle into two St. Bernardus goblets. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist! Extra special thanks to Vanillamike for this from our recent trade!

Bottled October 6, 2009
Batch One
Bottle 17 of 228

A: Pours a murky pear nectar color. A one finger thin layer of cream coats the top and leaves a small amount of lace behind.

S: Aromas of peaches, pear, vanilla, coconut, and damp/oaky barrel.

T: See above. Heather thought that this had a vaguely winey quality to it. Lots of big wet oak!

M: Smooth with fresh oaky dryness. Very sticky!

D: We found ourselves racing through this beer and then we noticed that this is sporting 11.65% abv. No way is this almost 12%!

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Photo of ppoitras
4.16/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle purchased around, maybe Formaggio Kitchen, Cambridge, MA? Batch PN1, Bottled 10/2010, Bottle 32 of 276. Corked & caged.

Poured into a Harpoon tulip, formed a pillowy 1 1/2" white head over the slightly cloudy golden brew. Head lasts very nicely, with plentiful chunky lacing. Aroma is sour funk and meaty depth. Taste begins sweet, lightly citrus in the middle, smooth alcohol to the close, with maybe a bit of fusels in the aftertaste, with some numbness to boot. Mouthfeel is velvety, and drinkability is nice. Get by the nose sour, and you're in for a enjoyable ride.

12/16/09 - 4.5/4/4.5/4/4.5

22oz bottle received in trade from VanillaMike. Thanks for the opportunity. Batch 1, Bottled 10/6/09, Bottle 26 of 228. Red waxed cap.

Poured into a Harpoon tulip, formed a fizzy 1/2" off-white head over the cloudy amber brew. Head is gone in a flash, with heavy legs and minimal to average amounts of lace. Aroma is sweet, with dominant vanilla and alcohol character. Taste starts sweet, exhibits a peek of fruitiness in the middle, then eases into the vanilla and barrel notes, and closes with ample warmth. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is way too easy for the abv. Very good and interesting brew.

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Photo of rpstevens
4.32/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is batch one, bottle 106 of 228. Poured into a White Birch glass.

The pour yields a two finger white frothy head on top of a golden, hazy body. As the head fades it leaves some foamy, bubbly lace behind.

The smell is sweet biscuity malt, vanilla and bourbon first and foremost. Underneath is some other sweetness, maybe banana? and some fresh cut hop notes.

The taste is a blast of vanilla and graham cracker malt that is followed by strong bourbon and barrel flavors. There is a nice blend of fresh cut grass, lemon zest and peppery hop that pop up throughout the taste and add an excellent balance.

The beer is well carbonated and the high alcohol is hidden nicely by the strong flavors of the beer. About halfway through the bottle there is a nice warmth in the belly and as the beer warms the scent becomes more inviting. This is a dangerous beer at almost 12%, I can't wait to see what it's like after some time in the cellar.

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Photo of jlpayne
3.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle 144 of 252, aged in Pinot Noir barrels.

This is the 2nd time I've had this beer. I bought two bottles in November 2010 and shared the first with friends right away. I was hugely disappointed. The beer was just terribly boring.

I actually decided to open the 2nd bottle tonight because I wanted to give it a good walloping here on BA. Much to my surprise, the beer is actually pretty damn good now. Here's the review:

A - Hazy gold. Nice carbonation and head retention.

S - First impression: Champagne. The nose is tart with mild citrus esters.

T - Bready. Mild and pleasant burn in the finish. Crisp and semi-dry. I can't find any hint of the barrel though.

M - Buttery and round.

D - The dryness and high ABV definitely limited me to 1 bomber, but I enjoyed it.

All in all, a solid Belgian from White Birch.

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Photo of Thorpe429
1.06/5  rDev -68.5%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Thanks to rpstevens for sending this bottle out my way. Opened at a tasting and served in a snifter.

The beer is ridiculously bad looking. One of the most inappropriately-colored beers I have ever seen. It's like a light berliner weisse with a lot of haze. I don't know how something barrel-aged could be this color. Much lighter than straw. After that, the nose comes through with some rotten vegetables. Really not good. Reminds me of fresh basil that has been left out way past its expiration date. The taste does not improve on this. Bigtime fail. The taste is really quite sticky. I was informed that I visibly shuddered after my first sip. The best description I can come up with for the taste is cooked asparagus. No real barrel character.

This was not even worry of a drainpour. The toilet welcomes this one. I can't believe this started out as one of the ugliest beers I've seen and then the appearance ended up being the best aspect of the beer. Very odd indeed. I was looking forward to opening this up and it did not deliver.

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Photo of jlindros
3.69/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Had this as part of the infamous White Birch tasting at the Holistic Institute of Dramming, thanks to Tim. Notes will probably be short since there were so many different beers to note, and drink.

Pinot Noir barrel PN2 from Nov. 2010.

Pours a decent fizzy fluffy 1 finger head that fades at a med pace with bubbles streaming, light foamy lacing, crystal clear light tan golden color.

Nose of musty grape skins, oak, light spices, and hints of Belgian malts and fruits, big appley pear esters, hint of booze, mild phenols and spices, mild citrus zest like, hint of banana.

Taste is brings lots of oak and wood, a light red wine flavor, juicy fruits, light citrus, creamy, and very light booze. A bit of vanilla and light orange flavors, mild spices and more fruity esters, little pear and apple, fruity. Finish is dry and bit of bitterness, more citrus peel, mild spices, mild phenolic booze.

Mouth is medium bodied and a little creamy, with lots of carbonation.

Overall it's pretty good, lower booze than expected for the abv, but some light spices and musty, interesting but not great like expected.

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Photo of nathanjohnson
1/5  rDev -70.3%

Photo of AgentZero
1.44/5  rDev -57.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

A - Oddly light looking beer for something that is barrel aged. Hazy yellow color, confusing more than anything else.

S - Smells like rotten vegetables, vitamins, and fusal alcohol. There's some faint wine notes also, but none of this is good.

T - This beer is bad. It's not just bad for beer, it's bad for pretty much anything. Tastes like medicinal alcohol, vitamins, rotted vegetable matter. I have no idea how this gets into a bottle, either the brewer didn't taste it, has no taste buds, or hates us.

M - Lighter bodied with some moderate carbonation and a dry finish.

O - I swear you have to be trying to make a beer this bad. Avoid.

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Photo of BucketBoy
2.25/5  rDev -33.2%

2010 M1 - Merlot barrel-aged. Bottle 186 of 192. Thank you ShadesOfGray for this long ago extra from back when I was still in NC. Enjoyed with an Aging Room Quattro F55 Concerto and The Sopranos season 2, episode 6.

It's a shame they call this a tripel.

I'm giving this review rated mostly to style. Ordinarily I rate beers completely to style, in which in this case the score here would be much lower because it tastes nothing like a tripel. Think 1.5. However, rated as a Merlot-barrel-aged wild ale or soured Belgian pale ale this would be closer to a 3.25 (my predilection is to be a tough critic so the truly exceptional brews rise to the top).

A - Soft golden hue with just a hint of a cream-colored foam ring and no lace. Pin bubbles continuously rising from the bottom of my Bells tulip. Pretty nice looking. 3.75

S - Light pale tripel in the nose, shades of sweet green apple, oak, touch of vanilla. 3.25

T - No real tripel character other than a hint of esters in the mid-palate and finish. Instead I am greeted by some minimal sourness, Merlot, some red and white grapes, green apple, vanilla, oak. As a wine-focused beer this is fairly enjoyable. As a tripel it fails fairly miserably. 3.25 if rated not to style. 1.25 to style

M - Thin, but the smooth carbonation and slightly oily slickness give it some life. Vinous tannins lend some depth in the mouth. 3.00

O - If you drink this, go in thinking it is an American wild, in which case it is not a bad beer at all. Actually fairly enjoyable and refreshing. But it has hardly any notable characteristics that would make it come off as a tripel. Consequently, I can't help but rate it as a failure. 1.00

They should have called this an American wild or wine-barrel-aged Belgian strong pale ale. If the label was changed to call it what it ended up being, as opposed to what it started as before the barrel, the scores would be higher. I actually enjoyed the beer and would gladly sample it again. It is only lightly sour but it is refreshing on this cool Autumn eve. It is certainly wine-forward and under a different name or style it succeeds. But it is no longer a tripel. I have no idea what PN1-6 are like right now; M1 is nice though.

Regardless, glad to have the obscure tick. It is not listed as retired, but have they made this since 2010? If not, perhaps it should be deemed as no longer made.

Thanks again, Ryan.

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White Birch Barrel Aged Tripel from White Birch Brewing
Beer rating: 3.37 out of 5 with 59 ratings