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: 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 59 |  Reviews: 36
Photo of waiting4lunch
5/5  rDev +48.4%

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 BeerTrader
4.67/5  rDev +38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying this bottle that has been stashed away in the cellar for a few months. Bottled 10/06/2009.

Very excellent and enjoyable. I concur with all the excellent comments in the previous reviews below. This has set a new level of excellence for me for the White Birch lineup.

Very well done.

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Photo of DIM
4.51/5  rDev +33.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bottle #35 of 228 shared with Eric.

a: This was a clear, pale golden color. It poured with a short lived fizzy white head.

s: I think this is the third BA tripel I've tried and I have some reservations about this styles compatibility with the barrel. I just haven't been a fan so far. Smelling this helped change my mind. The affect of the barrel is obvious of course, plenty of bourbon, some oaky tannins, and a little vanilla. The Belgian character managed to come through in a surprisingly big way however. The candied sugar melded well with the sweet booze and vanilla, plus I found some distinctive Belgian yeastiness.

t: Happy again to be wrong about barrels and tripels, this is great! The sweetness of the bourbon and vanilla compliment the already sweet triple. They almost seem to keep one another in check. There is plenty of booze in the finish, but this doesn't come across as hot. This is a beer approaching 12% abv and it isn't ashamed to show it. Warming but not fiery.

m: Viscous, chewy body with gently fizzy carbonation.

d: WB knows there way around a bourbon barrel, no doubt. I might prefer the oak aged tripel by a slim margin, but this was a great beer. Bill's commercial offerings continue to impress, no surprise there.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.47/5  rDev +32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to jmu500 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber
Red Waxed/Cap
Bottled: October 6, 2009
Batch: One
Bottle: 96 of 228

Poured into a chalice a light dirty looking pinkish color, very nice carbonation, nice one-finger fizzy white head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some nice yeast notes, lots of bourbon notes, with some spice. The taste is sweet, malty/yeast, again very big bourbon notes, and spicy. Medium body, this brew is highly carbonated. Very drinkable, WOW! Very tasty brew, really liking the bourbon notes, Thanks John!

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.34/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 10/6/2009 Batch 1 22oz wax dipped
Pours a clear solid golden color with a good sized white head that quickly dissipates to a ring on top. Smells of bourbon, vanilla and oak mostly. There's a faint aroma of light fruit and spicy yeast deep underneath. Taste is pretty complex actually. I get the barrels contribution first, lots of vanilla, oak, tannins, bourbon up front. That's followed by a sugary malt sweetness as well as some light strawberry and apple flavors. Leaves a long lingering brown sugar and fruit sweetness in the finish as well as a touch of ethanol. Medium to light body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet fruity sugary mouthfeel. Wow that beer has done well with some age on it! Clean smooth complex and flavorful, I wish I had squirreled a few more of those away.

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

22oz bottle, Batch #1, bottle # 11 of 72, which was the same batch that was served at the Belgian Fest. A Triple aged in a Bourbon barrel.

Pours pale, hazy gold with a one inch head of semi-dense white. A reluctant retreat revealed some rippid lacing and a ring of bubbles around a mostly placid surface.

Aromatics lead off with a blast of vanilla, bourbon, and honey-drizzeled biscuits. Bannana skins and bubblegum follow through along with oakey tannins and a hint of cut grass.

Light bodied with a crisp, sharpish mouthfeel.

Light malt and toast crumbs start the palate but are quickly overrun with bourbon and a peppery bite. Vanilla, honey, and warming spice follow through. Plenty of bubblegum, hoopy bitterness, and an earthy, tannic bite flow underneath.

Finishes with a building bourbon heat, peppercorn spicyness, and layers of blossom honey, lively hops, and melon rind.

The biggest, most adventurous WB brew to date. Carbonation a bit low for the style, but theres always variation on these nano-bathes. A real cellar candidate if you can wait. Heavy on the hops and Bourbon. Nice.. Thanks Bill.

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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 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 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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Photo of CrellMoset
4.05/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, red waxed and capped, #11/228. Poured in to a snifter on New Years Eve, 2010.

Appearance: Pours a hazed, fulvous goldenrod, opaque at the center even to direct light, though definitely transparent enough around the periphery to reveal the occasional spontaneous eruption of effervescence. The head - initially one finger, proud, creamy, a little foamy, and absolutely virginally white - fades relatively quickly, though perhaps not as quickly as one would imagine a barrel aged 11.7% beer would. The remnants are pleasant - some speckled dusting and a thin, creamy collar. Lacing is runny, glittery, but has a soupcon of stick to it.

Aroma: Boozy barrel notes and graham cracker pilsen notes mingle with white pepper, coriander, cloves, and tropical fruits. Very bright, slightly spicy in both the alcohol department and elsewhere, the aroma of this beer is a pretty fair teaser of the taste - sweet, spicy, green, with a handful of chalky, oaky barrel notes.

Taste: Oak ahoy! Like a vanilla/butterscotch/coconut/oak bomb, this one. First, the base beer. It's a sweet, golden, spicy tripel, very authentic tasting, on the sweet end, but with a good amount of Belgian-y nuances. Sweet, simple, crisp golden malts, mildly biscuity - but with a huge amount of Candi sugar-like notes that suggest honey (especially when mingling with yeasty, spicy phenols) - dominate, but there are also a few light tropical fruit notes, mango predominantly, but also peach and nectarine with a dash of more traditional citrus. A few green fruit notes - nondescript in origin - mingle with Belgian yeasty phenols, cloves, coriander, and even a dash of star anise.

Now, take all that - in summary, a sweet, spicy, mildly fruity Belgian tripel - and throw it in (what tastes like) an untoasted American oak barrel. Bold move, I say. Tons of vanilla and butterscotch notes mingle with coconut and green oak with varying degrees of success. On the one hand, the coconut and oak notes mingle well with the fruity notes and spicy nuances of the base beer. On the other hand, the vanilla is a little out place, sort of running roughshod over the base malts of the Tripel, and the buttery barrel sugar notes are a little quirky too. Not really bad, but not really a masterful combination. It's interesting, at the very least.

Mouthfeel: This beer's best aspect. Very nice process control here, with a soft, smooth body that still has plenty of free sugars but has plenty of lift to it such that the end result is fluffy, relatively even, and pretty complimentary to the flavor profile (especially after it's been sitting out for about 45 minutes).

Drinkability: Not everything I was hoping, but not bad. First, the bad. This isn't the first barrel aged tripel I've had (that would be Allagash's Curieux), but this one was obviously a little different (no bourbon notes, for one), and a little lacking. One, it was a little sweeter than perhaps it should have been, so: 1) if you have this beer, hold on to it for a while longer; and 2) if it's going to be brewed again, I'd brew it either a little or dryer, or leave it in the primary a little longer. I think a dryer beer would mingle better with the barrel flavors. Additionally, and unfortunately more fundamentally, I'm pondering the wisdom of a tripel aged in American oak barrels. The flavors are good, don't get me wrong - but they're not fantastically complimentary, amazing, or groundbreaking.

So, is there a good beer here? Absolutely. Is there a great beer here? Maybe - if it's tweaked slightly. Is there a world class beer here? I unfortunately don't think it's possible. But I'd love to be proved wrong. Here's to Bill for pushing boundaries on this, New Years Eve 2010 - cheers!

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Photo of Mac19872
4/5  rDev +18.7%

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 alamode
4/5  rDev +18.7%

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 ZacharyJ
4/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of bob727
4/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of Kelp
4/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of FrankLloydMike
4/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of REVZEB
4/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of athomasPSU
4/5  rDev +18.7%

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