Spencer Trappist Ale | The Spencer Brewery

very good
222 Reviews
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Spencer Trappist AleSpencer Trappist Ale

Brewed by:
The Spencer Brewery
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Todd on 12-27-2013

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Reviews: 222 | Ratings: 1,138
Photo of Collins
5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

During a trip from my native Philadelphia to Spencer, I had the opportunity to try Spencer Trappist Ale on tap at the Black and White Restaurant near Saint Joseph's Abbey. The experience was a rare treat. I was overwhelmed by the light yeasty aroma . I thought I could smell a light citrus or almost clove smell. A beautiful amber, cloudy color.The taste was superb- dry, and better than any other Belgian I've tried. I found my way to a local Spirits shop where I bought two cases to take home. This my friends, will be an ale that will be around for the ages.

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Photo of Mark425
4.99/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I give this beer a perfect score. With strong color, this ale achieves a full flavor spectrum beginning with a fruity scent that hits your nose the second you go to take a sip. Next is the beautiful head and the strong flavor with balanced spices that are tasted on an individual basis. All around a brilliant, brilliant beer. It's no surprise that Spencer Trappist Ale was brewed by monks - divine inspiration clearly had a role in developing this ale

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Photo of JMScowcroft
4.83/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Spencer Brewery - Spencer Trappist Ale, poured into a Craftgeer snifter.

Look - Pours a hazy straw orange with a good sized foamy head with a fizzy unerlay, retains a slight amount. Good lacing. Very good looking brew.

Smell - Deep Belgian candy, sour yeast, banana, apple, caramel, spices, melon. Incredibly complex and balanced Belgian pale.

Taste - Sour, tart, and fruity with spice and zest. Complexity of a tripel but subdued to a more casual cousin.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with heavy carbonation. Bubbly and dry. So clean and crisp as all hell. Zero booziness. Could drink this for a considerably amount of time.

Overall - Fantastic, just fantastic. This is a highly underrated gem that even Allagash would be proud of.

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Photo of Sjd51888
4.81/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Lucky enough to get to try this at the brewery. Certainly an experience I won't ever forget...

An easy drinking and Wildly refreshing Trappist ale that has the character and complexities in both aroma and taste, to stand up with it's sister beers from overseas. American Trappist works for me. Look forward to seeking this one out when it's in retail.

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Photo of mt4080
4.79/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

writing on the fly, no detailed notes available.

gorgeous color, rocky off white head, disapates quickly.

fresh eastern nose, lots of clove and banana, very clean.

bright, clean, refreshing. rich in the mouth, but balanced by healthy amounts carbonation.

well balanced, traditional, but extremely fresh. the perks of being in MA...looking forward to regular consumption!

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Photo of jneiswender
4.78/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured out of a 12 ounce bottle into a chalice served cool

The beer has a very nice cloudy gold body with a very very nice thick head

The yeast smell in the front is absolutely intoxicating seemingly very Chimay-like

Strong clove and spice front some malt in the middle with some medicinal flavors at the end

Light and very very very carbonated

I very much enjoyed this beer I will have it again and it reminds me of what a fresh Trappist ale in Belgium must taste like

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Photo of NinjaJesus
4.75/5  rDev +19%

Fantastic! What a great beer. Expensive but well worth it. With a light wheat-y base and notes of darker fruit in the background, this beer is awesome. I would highly recommend it and as a citizen of Massachusetts I am so proud this comes from my state. Hunt this down and try it, outstanding.

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Photo of JVStabile64
4.73/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I was pleasantly surprised to find this (11.2 ounce singles) at a local shop.
Poured into a 16-ounce red wine glass.

A: Deep, gold straw-yellow color. Short but active head, with a permanent film left behind on the surface. Lacing is irregular and streaky.

S: Strong, sweet, overripe banana; plum; very appealing hints of spice (cinnamon, nutmeg...clove?). Barely tart, but earthy, not citrusy.
Fairly typical Belgian Ale-type esters, but quite pronounced. Very, very nice.

T: Profoundly malty, sweet, chewy. French-Toast-like feel, overall.
Flavors of banana, prune, raisin; hints of spice warm things up. As it warms, more hot/peppery flavors seem to linger.

M: Crisp, aggressive carbonation. Refreshing, but satisfying. Slick, dry finish.

O: I really, really like this stuff. Spencer Brewery's distribution area has been growing, and I'm glad I could sample their goods.
I look forward to cellaring a few bottles...this stuff ought to age well.

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Photo of jimboothdesigns
4.71/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow. Bought this beer on a whim while it Mass for a trip. Pours a beautiful amber with an amazing white creamy head. Puree into a snifter. Throws some sediment (does not bother me). Smell is yeasty and wheaty. Taste is the same but is one of the best Belgian Pale Ales I have ever had! Feel is thin with low carbonation. Amen!

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Photo of Botulizard
4.71/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Beer #200. Poured into a snifter/goblet type glass.

A: Apricot colored with a large, off-white head and a large amount of lacing. Small amount of white sediment floating around, with more collected at the bottom of the glass.

S: Sweet and fruity. Peach, apricot, and slight banana notes. Very pleasant and typical of the style.

T: Very much like the smell. Candy sweet and a bit fruity. Slightly bitter on the finish and aftertaste.

M: Light and refreshing, not too heavy on the carbonation. A bit sticky on the sweetness, but not too much.

O: A very good example of the style. This beer would not be out of place among its native Belgian counterparts. Here's hoping that the brothers at Saint Joseph's have started a strong Trappist brewing tradition here in the USA.

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Photo of ChristopherProvost
4.7/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: clear, straw color; nice rich foamy head upon the pour that gradually settles; gentle upward cascade of carbonation

Smell: definite notes of banana and cloves, some citrus coming through

Taste: lots of banana still there and cloves are more prominent on the palate; slightly tart taste (possibly sour apple?) with a slight lemony finish

Mouthfeel: light, clean, crisp mouthfeel; nice tickle of carbonation, but not too much; honestly, it was about as close to perfect as you can get

Overall: I was eager to try the first American Trappist ale and it did not disappoint! As far as I'm concerned, this is a textbook example of a good...no, great...Trappist ale. Fresh tasting, clean, fruity with a bit of spice. Even the carbonation reminded me of little angels flying up to heaven. Too poetic? Perhaps, but this beer deserves a little poetry. Amazing offering!

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Photo of BumWinesAreGreat
4.69/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I started this account after opening the bottle representing Mount Olympia.

This beer is the nectar of the gods. Heavenly bodied with subtle hints of angel sweat.
This was obviously created by the same pure-minded men that could carry the weight of knowing such feats needed to craft such immaculate brew.

One day, the good Lord graced down upon the Monastery in Spencer, her playful finger rubbing the inside walls like kisses from a not yet burning bush.

The flavor is not unlike a descent into madness...a Lovecraftian journey of the macabre, escapable only by it's smooth head and legs for days.

I suggest, no I DEMAND you suckle on this virginal teet of delight. You will try to find a perfect pairing, but that pairing is only found within another glass.

So gentle, so sublime. I weep at the thought of finishing the last bottle.

Dreams of love and life are in the bubbles of this salacious brew.

If this were the materials the Founding Fathers used in creating our country, we would be without war, without poverty, without sadness.

You will pray for the souls that are unable to imbibe the Trappist Ale.

I love you.

Maxell couldn't be further from the truth. Adjectives do no justice for this liquid ambrosia.

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Photo of bubseymour
4.66/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An outstanding Belgian Pale Ale. Nice yeasty, banana and grassy aroma with a sweet Belgiany flavor and a hop crispness to finish. Probably one of the better Belgian Pales I've had to date. How have I not sampled this beer before?

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Photo of WestvleterenVIII
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was quite surprised at how much this reminds me of a Belgian Ale. It was not as heavy and filling but full of fruity flavors and plenty of spices. A very good beer but quite pricey.

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Photo of josanguapo
4.61/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From zythoz.com. although recent to the market, this usa trappist monks have rounded it. Perfectly balanced beer. Its a pity the hard it is to get it here in Spain. Consumed while playing kings bounty dark side

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Photo of Rumpole
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I live a short distance down Route 31 from the Abbey in glamorous Spencer, and am a little embarrassed to have come so late to the party and am even more embarrassed to find 161 reviews of this brew here already. In my defense, I had some slight difficulty getting hold of it, as it sold out rather quickly here, and at $18 for a four-pack, it was well outside the current normal Rumpole budget for beer.

The price and the odd decision to use the European 11.2 oz size rather than the even 12 oz used in the New World (outside of Labatt's bizarre insistence on its very own 11.5) pretty much sums up the negatives.

Long ago I was a beer snob. Some time since I gave up such pretensions and am now admittedly far more familiar with significantly cheaper fare than this, so I cannot claim to add an experienced palate to the discussion. I will say this: don't rush to judgment on this one because you risk the mistake of thinking they went too slow-pitch to start.

The color is a cloudy honey amber, and the foam is a white dome a solid inch think or more, likely because of Rumpole's habitually clumsy pouring technique, the result of years of adjunct taste-offs. It is pleasantly fizzy, apparently more so than is the norm for the type going by past reviews, but it did not occur to me to be a detraction in any way at the time of tasting.

With scent and taste the best thing is to leave you on your own. It is not weak nor is it strong. It is not light but it is not boozy and the 6.5% slides in without a ruffle of a feather. You'll likely find some of the things mentioned here, such as banana, coriander, clove, nutmeg and so forth. But you'll also find things not mentioned here that are just your own. And you'll find different things from sip to sip. This beer is not a bludgeon, like so many at this price level; and if you don't pay some mind, you might mistake it as too easy going for the expense paid. But given time and proper contemplation, if you'll forgive that choice of word, you'll be rewarded with a multitude of subtler pleasures. A brew that grows on you when approached with kindness.

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Photo of kaiyote
4.59/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a goblet. Was a little concerned when opening the bottle produced a mild gusher, but less than 1/8 of the bottle escaped in total. I just hope the rest of the pack doesn't follow suit.

Look: Pours a beautiful hazy orange, can barely see the shadow of my hand through it. Started off with a thick, 2 finger head that has slow died back to a nice capping of foam.
Smell: Dead on for a Trappist Ale. Bananas and pepper both easily detectable.
Taste: Dead in line with the smell. Yeasty, bananas and pepper. A hint of hoppy bitterness in the aftertaste. Infinitely drinkable.
Feel: Nice carbonation, not too heavy.
Overall: Was a serious effort to get a hold of this gem where I live, but man am I glad I went to the effort (and expense). Easily one of my top 3 Trappist ales.

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Photo of kevinkr
4.59/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I joined beeradvocate specifically so that I could leave a review of this ale. Bought a 4 pack on Friday evening. Will buy again soon. I had pretty much given up beer, but this is extremely agreeable tasting and leaves me wanting more and not feeling bloated. I appreciate the conscientious way that the monastery makes this ale.

Served in a chilled glass mug at approximately 38 - 40 degrees

About an inch of head when poured.

Cloudy amber in color, nice frothy head. Very nice mouthfeel, natural carbonation is just right.

Hints of nutmeg and banana.. Fruity. Mildly bitter.

Nice fruity finish, some hint of nutmeg lingering?

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Photo of justinp444
4.58/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip this beer has a bright hazy golden orange hue with a puffy 3 inch head. Smell of apricot with orange citrus and a bit of malt. Taste of apricot, yeast, a tiny malt presence on the back end, bit of orange citrus, very sweet and fruity. A very complex and crisply drinkable beer with a light to moderate mouth feel.

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Photo of veryseldon
4.51/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is my first Trappist Ale, and I have to say I will definitely be trying more. I first heard about this beer from a friend, so on a recent trip to Massachussetts I picked up a four pack from a store and tried it. I did not have the preferred glass, so I poured it into a pint glass which was, of course, a little big. The smell was pleasant but not perfect with a quite malty aroma, but what really hit me was how smooth yet robust the mouth feel was. It was a real pleasure to taste, and I found myself lingering on each sip before swallowing, trying to catch all the flavors, as there were quite a few I hadn't tasted in a beer before. Something in it reminded me of the peaty flavors of an Islay Scotch. In any case, a quite enjoyable beer, even for someone like me who's generally leans more towards the more hoppy varieties.

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Photo of blue_virginia_brews
4.51/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours an Amber color with a thick head, nearly overflows the glass on a gentle pour. Head recedes with foamy lacing. smells greasy, sweet banana. tastes sweet, lots of slife, nutmeg stands out. really carbonated on the pour, but carbonation dies quickly.

Really enjoyable

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you Duffextracold

Cloudy marigold color. Lichen-like pocked retention hangs around for a few innings of Dodgers vs. Padres.

Smells right is my first thought. Must aplenty. Sharp sawdust spice. Sweet golden ripe golden pear malt. Mustard seed?

Tastes right too. I know that trappist is a list of requirements not a mark of quality but one comes to associate one with the other. And this trappist can hang. Misc golden fruits - apricot, golden raisin, golden bear. Golden Grahams but not really. Supadry.

Why is it that a monastery can just up and pop out a trappist beer and hit the nail on the head while many other fine brewpubs have been serving up meh trappist style beers for years?

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Spencer community is top-notch so it is unsurprising that this product is also par for the course there. Champagne-like carbonation with exceptional retention and lacing. Banana, bready, so much like Karmeliet that I'll label it as Karmeliet-Lite. Well done!

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Photo of DMXLOX22
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Excited I was able to get a single of this brew donated from a friend who has a relative who is a monk at the monastery. I've been dying to have a Trappist ale in a while. Let's see how this measures up

Appearance: pours a straw-yellow, golden but has a nice orange, Amber-like hue in the middle. Leaves behind an impressive frothy, white head about 3 inches high that takes several minutes to dissipate even slightly. Inviting indeed.

Smell: instant aromas are sent out of Belgian yeast along with a somewhat hint of caramelized malts. Somewhat touch of banana possibly and maybe cloves. Malts and the Belgian yeast make an impressive combo.

Taste: first sips and what is revealed is quite good. Belgian malts, traditional Belgian yeast. Banana favors and slight cloves add to the flavor. Sweet and a bit sour at the same time makes this a well-tolerable brew. A little caramelized, but at the same time only bready. Towards the end, orange zest and some grassy malts come into play, again making this quite a complex brew in all the right ways.

Mouthfeel: crisp and very smooth. Medium body and medium carbonation. Finishes somewhat sweet and somewhat dry at the same time. Delicious.

Overall: getting this brew by pure luck was nothing but joy for me. Cracking it open was the first step to a great brew. This is a traditional Trappist ale to the fullest. Delicious, complex, and full flavored. Everything I've pretty much wanted In a Belgian ale. Like a mix of wild yeast and traditional. I would totally try again (I received two bottles) and would totally recommend to a friend (if I'm willing to share). Cheers!

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
4.49/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best Belgian from Massachusetts. The appearance was a nice hazy dark yellow, although the head was very fizzy. The smell was full of Belgian wheat giving the smell of bananas and herbs like sage. The taste was full of mint, sage, and banana giving a classic Belgian ale flavor that was very well done. The mouthfeel was also very nice with a medium body which worked with the flavors very well. Really enjoyed this one.

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Spencer Trappist Ale from The Spencer Brewery
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,138 ratings.
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