Trappist Ale
The Spencer Brewery

Trappist AleTrappist Ale
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Pale Ale - Belgian
Ranked #7
Ranked #5,998
4.03 | pDev: 10.17%
The Spencer Brewery
Massachusetts, United States
Trappist AleTrappist Ale
Notes: America's first Trappist beer.

Our recipe was inspired by the traditional refectory ales known as patersbier ("fathers' beer" in Flemish). These sessionable beers are brewed by the monks for their dinner table and are typically only available at the monastery. Spencer is a full-bodied, golden-hued ale with fruity accents, a dry finish and light hop bitterness. The beer is unfiltered and unpasteurized, preserving live yeast that naturally carbonates the beer in the bottle and keg, and contributes to the beer flavor and aroma.
View: Beers
Reviews: 279 | Ratings: 1,309 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by BobbyOlson:
Photo of BobbyOlson
BobbyOlson from Michigan

4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sep 09, 2019
More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #90 (July 2014):

Dry, Yeast, Bubblegum, Crackers

An American Trappist beer that is Belgian inspired, we had hoped for something that would separate this beer from their brothers overseas. The ale has all the attributes of a Belgian Pale Ale though nothing really pops out to wow our palates. You’ll want to get this beer if you feel and need to support the Abbey though in the realm of Belgian beer this lands around the middle of the pack.

STYLE: Belgian Pale Ale | ABV: 6.5% | AVAILABILITY: Year-round

Jul 07, 2015
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

3.96/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Finally!!! I don't think I've waited for a beer longer than this. I think it was like 3-4 years ago when Dan Paquette spoke at a homebrew club meeting and told us this was in the works. I moved out to Spencer a few months later, and since then have had my nose against the glass waiting for it, and it's finally here. Hopefully they make more than just this one style.

The beer seemed like it was a bit too excited too (and too carbonated) as it rises up the top pretty quickly and gushes out a bit, causing a little mess as I can't get it into the glass quick enough, but forms a big fluffy foamy head, very foamy like, airy and bubblyand fades pretty quickly from the 2+ fingers to about 1/2 a finger of true thick head and mild spotty lacing, over a hazy blond orange color with a hint of an amber hue.

Nose brings more of the typical Belgian yeast, a little bit of a yeast funk (not wild kind, just yeasty), some nice mild phenols and esters, hints of spices, mild bready cracker notes with a hint of a citrus zest, a nice sweet blond malt base with a bit of candy like sweet malts, hint of candi sugar like sweetness with the phenols, a bit wheaty and doughy. The phenols and sweetness trick you into thinking there is more booze than there really is.

Taste starts with a lot more Belgian blond characters, almost as if I'm sitting at a table on a veranda in Belgium again, reminds me a bit of the Brugge Halve Maan blond. A mild sweetness comes in with a nice Belgian blonde flavor, blonde malts, mild wheaty and crackery, actually gets quite wheaty as it goes, little doughy as well but not much, and hint of a candi sugar sweetness. That candi note brings more phenols with it, mild tasty phenols with hints of esters and spices, as well as a hint of of orange citrus zest and grassy notes. A bit yeasty as well, and a bit of a light grassy bitterness, that really pops off the tongue with the big carbonation. Finish is dry somehow, but a little sticky, fair bitterness with more orange zest, mild phenols and spices, bit more blonde malt and candi lingering.

Mouth is med bod, lots of carbonation and the big bubble but still popping fluffy carbonation from the bottle conditioning, but a bit too much carbonation.

Overall pretty good, nothing too crazy or amazing, but for a blonde ale pretty nice. Like I mentioned before I have been waiting a very long time for this, and it's finally here, and is able to remind me of being in Belgium, so a nice beer at that. very drinkable, a bit too wheaty, but still tasty, everything well balanced, a nice spring or summer beer for sure. I hope they bring a quad or big beer at some point.

Jan 20, 2014
Photo of MIrvine
MIrvine from California

2.58/5  rDev -36%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I don't like it. Sorry.

Feb 23, 2015
Photo of Longstaff
Longstaff from Massachusetts

2.91/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From the first batch - semi rough poor kicked up a one finger head that dissapated shortly after being poured, left minimal lacing. Odd aroma of dryer sheets and dirt with a bready maltiness. Flavor falls short due to typical (for US brewers of Belgian styles) overly phenolic flavor with no nuance. Tastes more like a hefeweizen than belgian single. Made me feel good, so there's that at least. Value is out of whack.

Jan 29, 2014
Photo of VelvetExtract
VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-Pours a dark gold. Big, dynamic headpiece. Looks the part. Generous with its lacing. Body glows.

S-A Belgian yeast blowout. Bubblegum, cloves, banana. Very zesty and yeasty. Not much in the way of hoppiness although there is a slight scent there. Smells like it has been cut out of the Trappist cloth.

T-Flavor is stimulating. It is, like the nose, dominated by the aggressive, yeasty flavors. Dried, bready malt that is accompanied by a light sweetness. Also some slight grass. Spicy white maybe a light peppercorn flavor.

M-Lively and bubbly. Quite drinkable. Only a touch of alcohol. Medium in body.

O/D-Pretty cool. You definitely pay for the Trappist moniker. Hey, long live the Masshole Trappists!

Jan 25, 2014
Photo of djbrown13
djbrown13 from Massachusetts

3/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Disappointing. Weak for a trappist.

Jan 06, 2015
Photo of waddellc2
waddellc2 from Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

not digging this one, good attempt

Jan 15, 2015
Photo of dar482
dar482 from New York

4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The beer comes in a pale to medium amber color.

The beer offers banana, clove, sweet pears, hints of orange, some grainy malts, a biscuity flavor in the middle that quickly glides onto the crispness in this beer with white pepper from the yeast and spicy hops at the finish. The mouthfeel is medium with a prickly high carbonation scrubbing on the palate.

Jan 17, 2017
Photo of Brutaltruth
Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Finally got to try this one from Country Fresh Market in Beechmont. This FINE BPA pours a
cloudy golden amber with a nice head of white foam that settles to a thick ring, thin pool, and
features some nice sudsy lacing. Nose of banana, light spice, bubblegum, light apple, and light dried
apricot. Flavors follow the nose with light apple and mild banana notes on the middle melding with
notes of bubblegum and fading onto the sides and back with subtle dried apricot and subtle spice
with notes of subtle clove and yeast laden bread. Excellent mouth feel that is crisp and moderately
dry on the finish with a touch of tartness.

Overall---- a blessing from the monks who should be proud of their fine work.


Aug 14, 2016
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss from Pennsylvania

4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A Bright ruby almost golden tinged Belgian ale with a large white head that laces the glass well. Just a chill haze without sediment and rather fresh looking.

Belgian highly phenolic aroma with Belgian candi sugar, hops, special trappist Belgian ale yeast, and trace elements of other mild funk. Slight cotton candy and spice, lending the notes of wheat malt and coriander, possibly white or black pepper.

The body is full flavored with slight citrus character, Belgian funk, earthy bitterness, and even to tart finish, nothing cloying or sickly sweet about this one. There is a fair malt sweetness, and this beer can stand up to any Belgian made in the states to trappist standards I suppose. Light fruity accents, distinct pepper, dry candy sugar. Paired side by side, this came out lighter, but hops came out distinctly more American and less pungently noble in this finely crafted brew to Belgian Pale style at 6.5%. Drinkable and engaging,

Advertised as fruity and dry, it delivers on the promise in the mouthfeel. Dry and crisp, not too full, so perfectly full bodied and drinkable brew. Plenty of liveliness and crispness.

Overall, a really nice take on the style, and one that should cellar like a beast. This was fairly fresh and well stored and I enjoyed the hop flavor, much more pine and citrus than, say, Orval, but still a mild but complimentary bitterness. Enjoyable with the Belgian yeast character. It hit me in the right way.

Jul 11, 2015
Photo of ThisWangsChung
ThisWangsChung from Maryland

3.16/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle into a teku.

Apperance: Pours a somewhat murky amber color. The head is huge at three fingers high, with an off-white shade. Well, the out-of-control head is a good sign, that's for sure. It's also very fluffy, with average duration. Inconsistent splotches of lacing stick to the glass. (3.75)

Smell: Another good sign: the apple and pear notes typical of the style are nuanced within the bready nature of this beer's aroma. However, it lacks the razor-sharp balance of the Belgians: the yeasty notes have a tendency to overpower everything. I also get some candied sugar, but again, the big breadiness runs roughshod over it. (3.25)

Taste: Powerful bread notes initially wash over the palate, before a gentle flavor of sour apple appears. I also get some caramel flavors on the back end, and maybe even some banana. The flavors are decent and nicely balanced, but it's really let down by the mouthfeel (more on that later...) (3.25)

Mouthfeel: This just isn't clean or crisp enough. At first, it seems dry-finishing, but the aftertaste is heavy and sweet - and that's a no-no for the style. The effervescent carbonation is there, the mouth-filling density is there, but it still lingers on the palate too strongly. Put simply, it just isn't as effortless as it should be. (2.5)

Overall: The verdict for America's first trappist brewery is...disappointing. It's fine enough (the flavors are there), it just lacks the razor-sharp crispness I expect from a great patersbier. Still, this could be great with a few tweaks. I just know this brewery can get it right in the near future. (3)

3.16/5: Don't worry St. Joseph's Abbey, Rome wasn't built in a day

Apr 07, 2015
Photo of farrago
farrago from New Jersey

3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decent initial head, very loose and wispy, settles down to a loosely arrayed islands of bubbles, tannish hue with an orange tint, for lacing you get minimal splotches with not too much stick. Very cloudy, bottle stood up for days and carefully poured still yields a great deal of particulate in the liquid, warm red glow at the core but mostly a bright orange, color of pink grapefruit pulp, nothing remarkable about the visible carbonation. The nose offers biscuit crumbs, pepper, meadow grasses and earth, clove spice, the orange to lemon citrus pierces the nostrils well and allows for more flow in the attenuated apricot, apple fruit, definitely more lingering banana notes. Full-bodied, in large part due to the fluffy expansion coming from the carbonation. Lees, whipped cream, clove and caraway seed, dried honey, less peppery here. The citrus is indistinct in terms of flavors but a large presence nonetheless. Overall, the profile is too dry for you to get a lot of banana or bubblegum but they are there. Apricot, pear, green melon fruit of moderate ambition. The finish is tactful even as that active carbonation extends the mouth feel. Pleasant to sip.

Mar 06, 2015
Photo of KornWallace
KornWallace from New York

4.21/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Date: 11/11/14
Location: Union Plaza Liquors
Draught/Bottle: 11.2 oz Brown Bottle
Glassware: Snifter

Appearance: Orange to Golden in color. Only lightening slightly towards its edges. Unfiltered and I do see some yeast in the bottle but none poured in my glass. It's not difficult to see through the haze though. Big pillowy carbonation head that pours at more then two fingers tall and stays. Fantastic head, any sort of jostling of the glass seems to replenish it.
Aroma: "Oh Wow!" Is my first thought. Big fruity flavors strike me from the yeast. Smells of banana, cherry, clove maybe a hint of clementine. A pretty nice sweetness as well, not quite candi sugar but something close. Bready and sweet malts worm there way in the background.
Taste:The fruit aromas become more zest like in flavor. More bitter and stronger. The sugar sweetness really balances out the fruit and along with the biscuity/bready malts make up the second phase of the beers tasting. The finish moves back to the orange again and some big yeasty flavors.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied comprised of many esters and phenols dancing on the tongue thanks to the medium high to high amount if carbonation.

Notes: Be careful when pouring the beer the carbonation is very aggressive in its initial foaming. I'm really grateful for the opportunity to try this beer. The monks did a very good job and it's great to see America's first Trappist brewery has the ability to succeed and thrive.

Nov 11, 2014
Photo of damndirtyape
damndirtyape from Ohio

3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at La Trappe Cafe, San Francisco. Served in a branded Spencer Trappist glass, which was more of a wine glass than a chalice. 25cl pour.

Appearance: Slightly hazy gold to amber. Thin white head. Plenty of thick strands of lacing.

Smell: Floral, leafy, herbal, hint of biscuity malt.

Taste: Up front herbalness and bit spicy as well. Biscuity malt middle. Mild fruity esters in the middle as well. The finish is herbal as like the start, but there is some spiciness at the finish. Coriander maybe? Maybe a hint of orange peel? Could be the hoppy finish I'm detecting is a mix of Noble hops and US citrus hops which might explain the spiciness and hint of citrus as well as the finish.

Mouthfeel: Sticky with prickly carbonation. Actually sticks to the teeth quite a bit. A bit dry in the finish despite the stickiness.

Overall / Drinkability: A solid Belgian pale ale, and in a way, an American take on the Trappist ale. Easily drinkable and I would have had another one if I had not been distracted by other goodies on the La Trappe beer menu. Went well with food (mixed green salad) and I'll have to see if I can find it again.

Feb 05, 2015
Photo of jaasen64
jaasen64 from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into Short's goblet. Purchased as a single for $5. This is the first authentic Trappist beer brewed in the US and there currently are no others. Consumed directly after a Trappist Westvleteren Blond from Belgium.

A- Pours a slightly brownish yellow golden, definitely a little bit on the darker side when compared to the Westvleteren. About a 2.5 fingers worth of white foamy head forms that has nice retention and recedes to a nice thin layer.

S- Strong esters, clove, light spices, hints of yeast in the background. Fairly aromatic but not quite as complex as the Westvleteren which had a little bit less esters and more balanced spices with a nice bready yeast finish.

T- Strong esters of banana, clove, mango, lightly spiced, a hint of yeast on the finish. This was flavorful but again doesn't quite compare with the Westvleteren in both balance and complexity. Still very good though with a lot of the same flavors.

M- Medium bodied, nice carbonation, very drinkable.

O- This was very good for the style and I'm glad to see Spencer making quality beers like this right out of the gate. However this didn't quite compare to the Westvletern Blond which had very similar flavors but a slightly better beer all around. If you like Belgian blondes this is without a doubt seeking out and probably one of the better interpretations out there.

Apr 17, 2014
Photo of moarmare
moarmare from Missouri

3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Jun 08, 2015
Photo of TheBeerSipper
TheBeerSipper from Massachusetts

4.21/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nov 18, 2014
Photo of HoppyBastard1
HoppyBastard1 from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Nov 23, 2014
Photo of Uniobrew31
Uniobrew31 from Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Aug 25, 2014
Photo of dsm45
dsm45 from Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Jan 23, 2014
Photo of tb4475
tb4475 from Massachusetts

3.41/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Sep 01, 2015
Photo of justme
justme from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Jan 21, 2014
Photo of wesley14
wesley14 from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -0.7%

Feb 03, 2014
Photo of kristougher
kristougher from North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Sep 11, 2014
Trappist Ale from The Spencer Brewery
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 1309 ratings