Spencer Trappist Ale | The Spencer Brewery

Spencer Trappist AleSpencer Trappist Ale
Liked This Beer
4.01 w/ 1,173 ratings
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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Ratings: 1,173 |  Reviews: 231
Photo of acurtis
3.52/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of jaydoc
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky dark honey orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of grain, white grape juice, grape jelly, and spice aromas. Taste is much the same with grain, grape jelly, white grape juice, earth, and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is a worthy American addition to the Trappist line-up.

Serving type: bottle.

 591 characters

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

really really stoked this is finally a reality in colorado. how cool to have an american trappist operation, and their story is really neat as well, big fan of the project in general, long before i tasted the beer. the beer itself is presented really well too, love the glassware and the packaging, even the price point is awesome for what it is. it has a lot of haze to it, thick looking for a pale beer, honey colored and heady as any of the belgian trappist beers as far as i am concerned, looks great, and authentic. maybe a little less delicate than some of its peers, but thats the american way right? the nose is sweet like a tripel, and the yeast is really cool belgian for sure, but tamer on the fruited elements, more of a wine thing without the acidity. i get some apricot in the taste, maybe dried apricot, and some wheat malt thats fresh and like, not threshed out or something, like more of the plant, organic and richer, more textured, its cool. the yeast flavors the beer the most though for sure. carbonation is awesome, but i am afraid there is a lot more sweetness happening in it than i care for, i could never drink more than three or four glasses of this before it became unbearable. i wish they fermented it out another percent or so, then this would be so so so good. it feels a little thick too, and with the sugar its a lot, but the carbonation is correctly effervescent, and the flavors all marry up well. i hope they do some other varietals, but this is a way cool introduction to the market, really stoked to have them here!

 1,553 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -25.2%

Photo of nmann08
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle, pours a hazy golden orange color with a big full fizzy off white head. Very active carbonation, lots of bubbles and some sediment in the glass.

The smell is floral, yeast, faint fruit, a little biscuit.

The flavor is light fruity notes, yeast, biscuit, american citrus hops and belgian hop content, leaving a light bitterness. The mouthfeel is a little light, crisp, and active carbonation going down.

Overall, this is pretty tasty. Would love to drink regularly.

 485 characters

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of metter98
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy and very dark golden yellow in color, having a high amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down but consistently left a short head covering the surface.
S: Moderate to strong aromas of yeast are present in the nose along with associated notes of banana.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is very yeasty and has underlying flavors of bananas and spices.
M: It feels just about medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is an interesting Belgian Pale Ale in the the yeast profile is very reminiscent of that what you would would expect from a hefeweizen with the banana-like aromas and flavors.

Serving type: bottle

 730 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.84/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle - it was indeed a nice surprise to finally see this North American Trappist brewery's product become available out here in the west.

This beer pours, well, first off, she's (can I use that pronoun?) a gusher, foaming up out of the bottle all over the table, and necessitating some quick clean up - only after that do I notice the hazy medium copper amber colour, with minor floatie action, and a surprising single finger of puffy, very loosely foamy, and mostly just bubbly dirty white head, which leaves some eroding limestone cave lace around the glass as it quickly recedes.

It smells of bready and doughy caramel malt, warm apple, pear, and banana fruit, a heady dose of musty yeast, some mild earthy spiciness, and plain leafy, weedy, and slightly herbal hop bitters. The taste is more grainy, lightly bready pale and caramel malt, still prominent banana, apple, and cooked pear fruity notes, a reduced gritty yeastiness, ethereal clove and white pepper dust spice, and a soft earthy, leafy, and somewhat floral hoppiness.

The carbonation is actually quite low and unobtrusive in its gentle frothiness, the body a decent middleweight, and mostly smooth, the fruitiness overriding the yeast acerbity, it would seem. It finishes trending sweet, but in a well-moderated sense, like it's totally at peace with itself and its surroundings.

Well, I gotta say, not a bad first foray into the venerable world of Trappist ale by a New World, um, order. Nice and fruity, the alcohol pleasantly obfuscated, and more or less easy to drink - looking forward to bigger and better things from these particular 'bros'.

 1,627 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.18/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

First impression: certainly above average for a beer of its style, but disappointing for a Trappist.

Full review to follow.



BOTTLE: 33cl brown glass bottle. Branded pry-off crown cap. Has one of the classiest label designs I've ever seen. No date stamp. Neck reads: AD 198.

6.5% ABV.

Served cold into an Orval goblet. Expectations are high given the Trappist designation, but tempered given my previous impression of the beer. Reviewed live as a Trappist patersbier per Spencer's website, though their description lends itself more to that of an Enkel.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Warning - some foam mushrooms out upon opening.

Head is off-white in colour. Occupies ~50% of the glass with its ~5cm thickness. Has a supple soft complexion and a modestly thick, foamy consistency. Not as creamy or frothy as you might expect. Leaves no lacing as it recedes. Retention is good - ~6 minutes.

BODY: Vibrant golden-copper. It does appear filtered - contrary to Spencer's claims. I see no yeast in the glass, but there's plenty of sediment floating in the bottle.

Appears well-carbonated. It's a nice looking patersbier, and I'm looking forward to trying it. But it doesn't have any unique or stand-out characteristics.

AROMA: Yeast spice is abundant in this dry aroma, which is lively and suggestive of rich nurturing vitamins and faint bread-like yeastiness. Belgian blonde malts lend it a well-tamed restrained sweetness. Spencer's bit of marketing lingo about "fruity accents" is spot-on, with supple notes of orchard pear, apple, and even faint lime obvious in the build. Hop profile is primarily floral, with a faint hefeweizen-esque banana ester on the side. Crystal malts and 2-row are suspected. I suppose I find the caraMunich malt buried in there too.

Aromatic intensity is above average. Suggests a patersbier with plenty of subtlety and balance.

No off-notes or booze are/is detectable.

TASTE/TEXTURE: A supple creamy mouthfeel emphasizes the banana ester in this brew, bringing it awkwardly in line with a hefe- or keller-weiss in terms of its yeast profile, deviating from the spiciness and biscuity Belgian character promised by the aroma. Fruity accents indeed manifest, playing well with the restrained Belgian blonde/2-row malt backbone.

It's lightly coarse and dry, which aids its depth of flavour and helps accentuate the subtle spiciness that emerges as it warms, as well as the orchard fruits. The caraMunich malt is disruptive here, injecting too much sweetness - and frankly too much "German ale" character (nebulous as that may sound). Ale esters are nicely showcased.

Light-bodied in spite of its bready leanings, with adequate heft and weight on the palate to support its flavours. That said, the mouthfeel fails to elevate the beer as a whole, and there's not quite a perfect harmony of texture and taste. Slight overcarbonation is evident.

It doesn't exceed the sum of its parts, but it's a pleasant enjoyable brew in its style (if a bit high in alcohol for a patersbier). I do like it, but it's not as balanced or cohesive as I hoped (and as the aroma might have suggested).

There're no off-notes, though the alcohol is somewhat noticeable.

Not oily, hot, boozy, astringent, gushed, rough, or scratchy on the palate.

OVERALL: Not as drinkable as any patersbier ought to be, nor as Belgian in character as a Trappist ale should. It's always nice to see more breweries attempting styles such as patersbier and/or Enkel, but this is really more of an underwhelming Belgian pale ale than a patersbier. Style devotees are better served sticking to traditional offerings like Chimay Doree, or even domestic offerings like Jester King Le Petit Prince. I love Trappist beers, but this is definitely inferior to its more storied brothers across the pond. Hopefully with more time to find their footing, Spencer will develop this into a worthwhile brew. As-is, it needs work but has some nice elements. Certainly above average, in any case.

High C+

 4,019 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.49/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft served in a branded goblet.
Light color, somewhat hazy, thin cap of foam on top. Some sudsy lace around the edges, decent retention.

Aroma was sweet and yeasty, kind of average, nothing especially unique but within the style.
Taste was overly sweet with little bitterness to balance, bland malt and overripe fruit. Light to medium bodied with fine carbonation. Nothing complex or nuanced about this unfortunately.

Wasn't real keen on this one, and I love BPA's.

 470 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
3.79/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of largadeer
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle into signature chalice, best before 9/15/2018. Pours lightly hazy golden orange/amber color with a 1 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big lemon, orange, peach, pear, apple, melon, white grape, peppercorn, coriander, clove, banana, light bubblegum, wheat, biscuit dough, light honey, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, bready malt, and light-moderate earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big lemon, orange, peach, pear, apple, melon, white grape, peppercorn, coriander, clove, banana, light bubblegum, wheat, biscuit dough, light honey, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness. Moderate yeast spiciness and light herbal/grassy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, orange, peach, pear, apple, melon, white grape, peppercorn, coriander, clove, banana, wheat, biscuit dough, light honey, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Great complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, bready malt, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/spiciness balance, and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Moderate dryness from carbonation/spiciness as well. Medium-high carbonation and medium body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/grainy/bready, and fairly crisp/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Zero warming alcohol as expected of 6.5%. Overall this is a great Belgian pale ale! All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, bready malt, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; very smooth, crisp, and pretty refreshing to drink. Really spot on for the style. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,894 characters

Photo of Boone757
3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of mothman
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

White head. Bit of a gusher. Golden orange color.

Spices, cloves, bananas, and Belgian yeast. Some alcohol. Medium bodied. Smooth. Very much to style. Well done.

 162 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
4/5  rDev -0.2%

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Spencer Trappist Ale from The Spencer Brewery
Beer rating: 83.5% out of 100 with 1,173 ratings
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