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Spencer Trappist Ale | The Spencer Brewery

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206 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: 206 | Ratings: 1,098
Photo of Mark425
4.99/5  rDev +24.8%
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 musicsherlock
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No discernible bottling date.

Pours an iridescent orange enhanced by the visible carbonation. This white head that fades quickly.

Smells of bananas, cloves and spices. Yeast?

Thick, malt forward with a good hop presence. A bit on the bitter side for a BPA yet tastes great.

Bubbly and thick, some stickyness.

Excellent BPA. I am enjoying the cloudy yeastiness as I inadvertently jostled the bottle prior to pouring.

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Photo of ordybill
4.44/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 OZ bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is a cloudy golden yellow with a thick white head. The aroma is cloves and fruit. The taste is fruity with a thick texture.

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Photo of stevoj
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Cindys Sprits in Elkrdge. Nice Belgian, beautiful fluffy head, buttery smooth. Cloudy golden body, slightly spicy, slick, chewy, smooth. Right in the ballpark. Would like to see them tackle the dubbel, tripel and quad.

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Photo of Mitchellrhen
3.86/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Rose Gold/copper with soapy white head and moderate lacing.
Aroma: Smells very fruity, mainly apples and peach.
Body: Full bodied, with a lot of carbonation.
Flavor: Starts very sweet and caramel, follows with some cider flavor and sourness, finished with a slight hop bitterness and alcohol.
Overall: I was very excited to try the only true Trappist beer from outside Europe! While it's not mind blowing, it's definitely still a great beer. At the lower end of the alcohol spectrum for typical Trappist brews, it seems rather sessionable. It's smooth and has a good flavor, it's major downfall is the very high carbonation which adds some bite that I didn't find appropriate.

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Photo of safaricook
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Copper with white fine foam. Some lacing. Gushed a little.
Aroma starts green apple that morphes into pear, later Bavaria Pretzl.
Fruity and phenolic, like pears cooked and spiked with cloves.
Aggressive fine carbonation, too much.
Fine Belgian pale ale with a nice yeast character.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Golden orange hue with a rocky white head and tons of lacing. Bready malts and orange, yeast, slightly spicy nose. The taste follows the nose well but with a massive amount of sweetness. It is a bit too sweet for me. Good beer but not on the same level as the other Trappists.

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Photo of The_Dude_31
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This Trappist Ale has really grown on me over the past few months. Love the carbonation and mouth feel. Is it up there with Abt 12 or the ephemeral Rochefort? No it is not, however it can stand proudly side by side with the excellent American abbey ales like North Coast's Brother Thelonious. Not as fruity as most of it's Belgian cousins, however more of a crips wheat subtle undertone of banana. All said a very good American Trappist Ale that you can tuck into for a nice mellow evening by the fire.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hazy orange beer with a one finger high, white, head.

Nose: Belgian yeast, coriander, orange, peach and sugar.
Taste: Caramel, candied sugar, yeast, grapefruit and pear.
Mouth: Medium body. Crisp carbonation. Light bitternes. Dry and bitter ending.

A good trappist but here in Europe there is a lot better Belgian beers at a lower pricetag. A nice beer to have tried but I won't by another one!

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Photo of illpass78
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a stemmed glass.

Appearance: This was kind of shaken up, but it poured a cloudy gold with a big white head.

Aroma: Fruit and candied sugars. Some peach, maybe a little tangerine. Some funk.

Taste: More fruit and candied sugars. Not complaining. Also has some yeastiness and some nice spicy quality. Pretty classic Belgian single altogether.

Mouthfeel: Pretty standard depth.

Overall: Glad to finally grab one of these. More or less a standard BPA. Enjoyable.

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Photo of philbe311
3.89/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - A standard pour produces a rich, creamy and velvety light khaki colored froth that displays respectable retention... It never really turns into lacing, rather it just settles a little... The color is a murky golden raisin / amber... Still with just a few carbonation bubbles sticking to the sides of the glass...

S - A sweet fruit forward aroma, presumably from the yeast strain... Mango... Peach... Nectarine... Golden raisins... Musky grapes... There isn't much else to the aroma, but that's okay as it is remarkably pleasant and enticing as is...

T - The fruity sweetness alluded to by the nose is missing in action... It is replaced by more traditional Belgian Pale Ale traits... Subtle yeast notes... A strong wheat presence... A light spice component...

M - Lush but dry from the get go... Smooth with little to no carbonation... No frills... Simple and straight-forward... Repeatable sip after sip...

D - Not a bad Belgian Pale Ale by any means... Actually it proves to be rather refreshing... My affection for this offering grew more with each and every sip until the end when I really wish I had another bottle... All in all it proves to be a bit more than the sum of its parts... I wasn't sure what to expect from the American Trappist brewery, but I was pleasantly surprised and can recommended with a guilt free conscious and will enjoy again in the future when presented with the opportunity...

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours clear and golden amber (SRM 5). Gem clear while yeast remains in the bottle. A modest, short lived, fine white head and lace in a Westvleteren Chalice. Once yeast is added, the beer turns cloudy orange.

Strong fruit aromas up front include ripe pear. The middle is dominated by light caramel with simple spicy yeast. Generally speaking, the aroma is delicate and elegant.

Without the yeast, the flavor is crisp and fruity with an earthy sweetness. The earthiness and sweetness are more pronounced once the yeast is added. Yeast also adds banana bread and light spices. The finish is light and lingering.

Palate is dominated by explosive, fine carbonation. The body is medium with light alcohol and a satin texture. Soft astringency and crispness were also noticed. Yeast smooth's out the palate.

This is a relaxing beer for a warm, dry day.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Spencer Brewery "Spencer Trappist Ale"
12 oz. brown glass bottle, production coded but without freshness dating
$1.99 @ Wegmans, King of Prussia, PA

Being a bottle-conditioned beer, the appearance of the Spencer Trappist Ale depends upon how long the bottle's sat undisturbed, and how carefully you pour it. Additionally, the flavor will change a bit depending upon how much yeast you add. I personally prefer the yeast, so I allowed quite a bit of yeast to be transferred over, and it's a cloudy deep-golden orange in color beneath a full head of off-white froth. Except for the color of the head it looks very much like a here-weizen, and the head retention and lacing are similar as well. Steady streams of fine bubbles can be seen rising in great numbers, adding to the head, and keeping it consistently full. Long streaks and smears of sticky lacing are left with each sip, and overall it's an impressive looking glass of beer.

The aroma expresses clove, black pepper, a general "spiciness" that might actually be coming from coriander, sugar, banana, and wheat. As it warms some herbal hops become apparent.

The first sip reveals its carbonation with a gentle bristle across the tongue. It's not quite at here-weizen levels, but it's close... probably 2.6 volumes CO2/liter. The body is medium with a bit of a dextrinous edge that makes it appear slightly fuller than it actually is.

In the flavor it's sweet upfront with rock candy, clove/bubblegum, and a hint of banana. Some earthiness and herbal and leafy hops appear across the middle and into the swallow. There's a fair amount of bitterness to it, but its also got a fair amount of malty sweetness, and the peppery spice combines with the carbonic acid of the CO2 to add a little zest and help balance the sweet malt. It finishes surprisingly dry with a spritz of alcohol that helps to strip away the maltiness, and notes of herbs, a "woody spiciness" that flickers with coriander and pepper, and some background crushed granite.

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted in a 8 oz snifter from draught at Firkin on December 18, 2015. Look is golden-hued, thick white head and lingering lacing. Smell is fruit. Taste is fruit and some bitter hop notes. Feel is full in body and dry in the finish.

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Photo of Zorro
3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear golden colored ale with a tall white colored head.

Smells strongly of apples and coriander. Scents of ash and cinnamon.

Starts out semi-sweet and a little spicy with an apple butter taste. Medium level of bitterness. Fair amount of wood taste and some pepper with the coriander.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall a decent if overpriced ale.

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Photo of polloenfuego
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml format bottled in May of 2014.

Spencer Trappist Ale looks nice coming out of the bottle, it pours a lovely golden color with a thumb's worth of head that breaks down to a fine white wisp of foam on the top of the beer. The smell is typical of a Belgian ale, yeasts, malts, fruity and cloves. Taste carries the nose through, but some of the strength of the yeast and fruits seem muted and the finish is a bit more bitter than expected. The feel is medium with a higher amount of carbonation.

All in all, not bad, I think that as this recipe matures this will become a very nice beer. I would be interested to read a Belgian review or two to see their thoughts.

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Photo of stortore
3.96/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a dark gold, mostly clear, with a quickly dissipating head, not much lacing. Last bottle of a four pack and it gushed a little. Think one of the others did, too. Smell is strongly Belgian yeast, also light malt, straw, grain, some black pepper on the pour. Taste is also yeast forward, a little more malt than the nose, more wheat or grain, a little caramel, slight lemon, a little earthy hop bitterness. Dry, crisp, good body, slightly harsh for the style.

This is a pretty traditional Belgian pale- which is a good thing to say for an American Trappist brew, enjoyable and easy drinking. Worth a try.

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Photo of jimboothdesigns
4.71/5  rDev +17.8%
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 wordemupg
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle poured into tulip 14/11/15

A murky orange liquid, chunks of yeast everywhere, two fingers of loose foam had decent retention leaving a couple partial rings

S orange marmalade and soggy cornflakes, some caramel and spice I can't place with some over ripe banana

T plenty of malt, I'm still getting cornflakes but a slight improvement on the nose, over ripe bananas replaced with dried chips

M medium weight, gets a little foamy after a second or two, sourdough and spice on the finish

O OK brew but I was expecting more form a Trappist brewery American or not I just couldn't shake the cornflakes

I'm stoked to have this brew pop up in the Alberta market but its a little disappointing considering its the first Trappist brew from my side of the pond

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Photo of biboergosum
3.84/5  rDev -4%
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'.

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Photo of stephens101
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Have been itching to try one of these since hearing of the endeavor a while back.

A whiff of booze escapes as I pop the cork. Color is a bright, reddish-orange. The tan froth dissipates calmly.

Banana, melon and grain to the nose.

Tastes of light fruits, spice a hint of vanilla and a pinch of taffy.

Medium and very clean all the way through.

Nice go of it for these fellows, and I always like supporting a good cause.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle stamped AD 161 F21:
Pours a amber orange, with a clarity that allows light through, but blurs anything behind it quite well. Carbonation Canberra seen supplying a nice off-white pillow atop the beer. Lacing is decent. I let the bottom of the bottle add a few floaties on my pour.

Nose is rather neutral in my setting. I get nothing much more than a light sweetness and maybe some floral notes-honeysuckle and a light bread, maybe.

The taste does start with a barely sweet hay and cracker malt taste. Earthy to grassy and floral notes are carried by lively carbonation to entice the palate before leaving it a little dry.

A nice, simple yet well constructed pale ale. Glad to have gotten to try it.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

11.2oz bottle
A - highly carbonated opaque amber body with a very creamy off-white head that holds great retention
S - bready spicy yeast, fruity esters, biscuity malt
T - biscuit malt; bread, spice, & fruity esters from the yeast; faint orange zest
M - extremely effervescent making it feel like a very full body, finishes spicy, zesty, and dry
O - pretty good! I wasn't sure what to expect with all the hype surrounding the release of this beer. Will I buy it again? I might buy it again and have a couple Belgians on hand for comparison.

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Photo of Salt-n-Beer
4.21/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Artwork: Very classy look. Nothing over the top and very fitting for this type of beer.
Appearance: Dark amber with a nice 2-inch head and A LOT of floaties. Head retention is 5+ minutes. Lovely lacing.
Aroma: Honey, honeysuckle
Taste: Massive honey, sugar cookie sweetness. Not much of a hop presence. A little bit of booze.
Mouthfeel: Very smooth, lovely small-bubble carbonation,
Overall: A very nice sessionable beer. Most of the other trappist establishments only offer their patersbiers at their monasteries/breweries, so it's nice to be able to get this at the grocery store.

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330 mL bottle into a chalice. No bottling or freshness date to be found. Wonderful presentation and labeling. Well done.

Smells nice! Spicy/zesty yeast with some baked bread and clove, as well as a grassland/herbal hop note. Inviting aroma.

The flavor is yeast focused, with nice accents of malt and hops. In a blind tasting I would have called this a farmhouse/saison, but as a Belgian Pale it works wonderfully. That is the thing with Belgian styles, they can be interpreted in so many ways. The yeast is spicy but not overly phenolic, with elements of cracked coriander seed, distant clove, fresh cut weeds, and a bright "almost" citrus note. Well done so far. Hops make a showing, but less so than I would expect from other reviews. The malt is crackery and light, with light bread crust.

Conclusion: This is a well done beer. Perhaps quality control has been shaky as the whole project gets going, and that would account for the low ratings (especially from the Bros). Whatever the reason, the bottle I have sampled is delicious, and I am proud to call it the first Trappist beer from the U.S.

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Spencer Trappist Ale from The Spencer Brewery
4 out of 5 based on 1,098 ratings.
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