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 nathanjohnson
1/5  rDev -70.3%

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.

 1,040 characters

Photo of ktrillionaire
1.26/5  rDev -62.6%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Pours a light and hazy yellow hue, with a sparse cap of thin white filmy froth; poor showing for a Tripel. Smells like fermented horse’s urine (or worse.) The flavor is not directly suggestive of urine or feces, as the nose is, but nonetheless it is generally very poor, like a nightmarish 'Herbed/Spiced Beer' and nothing like a Tripel, also nothing like something that has seen Pinot Noir barrels (though it allegedly has.) The smell of this beer is beyond disgusting, and far worse than anything I could’ve possibly expected. This is likely the worst beer I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, this tasting has featured two straight-up ‘F‘ beers, with the other one being Brasserie Des Rocs Grand Cru, which was just as bad, but for different reasons. Oh yeah, this was batch PN1.

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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 womencantsail
1.71/5  rDev -49.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Corked and caged bottle. I got a couple of these. Thanks to those who sent them.

A: The beer pours an incredibly pale yellow color. This is a tripel?

S: The aroma is almost meaty. Quite woody with a definite coriander note. Some light spices, wet cardboard, and lemon are also present. It's also got a definite hot dog water aroma.

T: It's sweet with wet paper and cardboard flavors. A touch of yeast followed by an overwhelming flavor of hot dogs. Just a bit of pale malt and pears. This was pretty awful.

M: Very light bodied for such a big beer. It has medium carbonation.

O: Not a proper color, not supposed to smell and taste like hot dogs. Not sure much was done right on this beer.

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Photo of MasterSki
1.74/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Thanks to Mike for sharing this gem. This one was PN4. Served in a Heady Topper glass.

A - White foam settles to a thin ring, leaving a bit of haze on top and minimal lacework. Pale, slightly hazed white peach flesh body.

S - Buttery oak, watered-down wine, some alcohol.

T - Wow! I thought I'd had some bad beers from White Birch, but this may be a new low. Vitamins, medicinal notes, vomit. This actually made me gag. Sublimely terrible.

M - I couldn't drink enough to tell. I guess I'll be fair and call it "average".

D - Just horrendous. Avoid at all costs.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
1.91/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Batch PN3, bottle 123 of 252

Appearance was most unimpressive. Hazy tannish yellow with no head, despite a rough pour, and no lacing at all.

Very yeasty smelling, along with coriander and earthy funk. OK at best.

Not too impressed with the taste. Coriander, lemon, yeast, cardboard, funk.

Feel is very poor for a tripel. Watery as hell, little carbonation, thin, watered down yeast aftertaste.

Overall it's in desperate need of some work. I see the reviews are all over the place, some stellar, some terrible, but there aren't enough of each individual batch/barrel type listed to spot an obvious trend. I suspect there's a large variation in batches. This batch wasn't good at all.

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Photo of bum732
2/5  rDev -40.7%

Photo of donniecuffs
2.03/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Last night, at the White Birch promo at the legendary Blind Tiger Alehouse, NYC, in a tulip glass..

The best way to describe the appearance is a mimosa with no carbonation. Same milky/cloudy orange color, less than a finger of white head, which didn't retain or lace very well. Don't get me wrong...like most beergeeks, i LOVE unfiltered beer, but the obvious over-abundance of suspended yeast in this badboy had me a little skeptical.

Then the smell...I tried not to let the visual evaluation taint my nostrils, but in the end, the smell strangely smelled like a mimosa too. Lots of apricot, tangerine, and a little bit of coriander spice.

The nuances in the taste mirrored the nose, with lots of tangy citrus, most notably tangerine and apricot, with a very subtle spice in the very dry finish. Tasted imbalanced, and disjointed. I got none of the standard spice flavors that I have grown accustomed to getting from a good 'tripel', even though there was intended to be a barrel-aging flavor influence.

The feel was very thin, with a dry finish, and the high degree of tart & tangy left you with a little acidic bite on the tip of your tongue. As for sessioning...no way. One was enough.

Then my buddy and I went on to have two more beers (made by other breweries) before we called it a night. Neither of us had drunk to the point where we were remotely toasty. Then I went home, had dinner, and went to bed, but lo and behold, I woke up 3hrs later in cold sweat, shaking, and massively nautious. I barely made it to the bathroom before violently losing my cookies. I just assumed that I had gotten a mild case of food poisoning.

But then...after getting to work late because of the lack of sleep...I received a phone call from same said drinking buddy, who proceeded to describe the same exact experience that had happened to him in the middle of the night. Given the fact that neither of us (a) had the same dinner, (b) drank the same beers other than this one, and (c) were not even buzzed, we deduced that the logical culprit for our pain was this beer, which made sense, given how much suspended yeast was apparent in it, and how off-kilter it had tasted. Needless to say, I will not be touching this beer again any time soon.

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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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Photo of yourefragile
2.26/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 1 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

750 mL cork and caged bottle. Date November 2010, Batch PN6, Number who cares out of 252, 10.5 % ABV. From their website describing this bottling and its batches: "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." Poured into a tulip.

Color is an unappealing milky and chalky lemon with a wispy thin white head that quickly fades to a ring with thin specks of lacing. The barrel dominates the aroma with sweet grape and apricot fruitiness and light vanilla. I struggle to pick up much from the base tripel as the finish of the aroma is mildly solventy and boozy. Thicker side of medium body with very light carbonation with a slippery, wet texture. Flavor is juicy and vinous, dominated by a musky cherry and black grape fruit, with a slight herbal, grape skin taste and vanilla from the barrel. Typical tripel flavors of spice and yeast, as well the expected body aren't present. Intensity of the flavor dies out near the end of the body and finishes watery. Certainly not an offensive beer, there is much less alcohol presence than the nose suggested and the flavors that are here are in balance, but this was an extravagantly phenomenal waste of $15 and what I assume were some nice barrels. Also sounds like there is some extreme batch variability, so this review probably has a limited scope.

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Photo of JasonR1975
2.5/5  rDev -25.8%

Photo of jophish17
2.5/5  rDev -25.8%

Photo of sinstaineddemon
2.53/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle November 2010
Batch PN1
Bottle 255 of 276

A - super pale, very champagne like, with a light straw with almost a rosy/peachy complexion, the pour wells up a huge frothy virign white head that fades away swiftly to a lacy ring fed by steady fast carbonation

S - dry, the aroma is also a la champagne, apples and grapes, particularly grapeskins, some honey like sweetness

T - fruity, at first, apples come to mind, then more beer like elements shine through, but the mild hops are fleeting into tropical fruits and a menthol like finish

M&D - effervescent and sharp, almost acrid at times, not like any other tripel I have had, perhaps it had too much age on it, although many other reviews have espoused similar characteristics, perhaps its just not a great tripel.

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Photo of BARFLYB
2.88/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Bottle into some snifters eating some cheese with oglmcdgl and sourbatch, bottle 29 out of 252.

WBBAT looked kinda murky from the bottle, not all together clear looking, muddled. Once the cork was popped (it took forever) the triple appeared a golden yellowish color with some hazy look, no floating sediment. A inch of white stuff, no stickies. Smell is weird. A triple of ther beaten path. The pinot does not come out much but is integrated with subtle spice and some fruit. Some basement scents. Taste was good on the first few but after a few more I was scratching my head. I get pear, begian yeast, hay, apple, and faint malt. Not very fruity for a trip. Pinot is non existant but I think the beer grabbed some bugs from the barrel, or the brewery, either or. It may be the yeast throwing this off. This does not taste good, the alcohol does not come out in taste or smell, that's a plus. Not one I will go back for.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
2.96/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A bottles split with onix1agr and sourbatchkid.

A- two fingers of bright white head that settles rather quickly leaving a few spots on top and a thin ring around the glass. Hazy light straw yellow in color that leans towards white when held to the light.

S- opens up musty and bretty with a dry grassy touch. A small hint of lemon zest.

T- bretty and funky with lots of herbal grass note and a light spice. a bit of tartness as it warms that brings some citrus zest with it.

M- light body with a light creeper carb that builds towards the finish. Bone dry. no hint of the abv on the palate.

D- tasty and interesting but not my favorite tripel. It goes its own direction and ill give it credit for that but ill have to try the non barrel aged version and see how this beer started.

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Photo of IdrinkGas
3/5  rDev -11%

Photo of richbrew
3/5  rDev -11%

Photo of InspectorBob
3/5  rDev -11%

Photo of zestar
3/5  rDev -11%

Photo of photomike
3/5  rDev -11%

Photo of rab53
3/5  rDev -11%

Photo of jdhilt
3.29/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a one finger white head that fades quickly, leaving no lace. Very pale, hazy amber color, yeast left in bottle. Good carbonation and light-medium bodied. Spicy, yeasty nose. Flavor is tart citrus and some yeast, no hints of bourbon, high ABV is totally hidden, the label says 11.7% but it doesn't feel like it. Seems like the Nov batch is quite different from the Oct batch. Way over priced at $16.95 for a 750ml caged & corked bottle from Bert's Better Beers Hooksett, NH. Bottled Nov 2010, bottle 3 of 192.

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Photo of rtepiak
3.29/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

i like this beer for its experimentation. I think its not there though. It pours as an unfiltered nightmare. Looks like pina colada. Its sort of smell like it too outside of coconut oil. and the booziness of wine in the nose. wine abv makes it feel like a wine cooler. Heavy handed pine apple sweet bread. I don't like this beer because i can tell its only the beginning to something great. Definite possibility but trapped in the questionable expensive beer should mess you up but be drinkable thing. can be quite drinkable if not so thick. but triple and wine... surprised it hasn't been done before. i wish this idea great success.

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