Spencer Trappist Ale | The Spencer Brewery

very good
218 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 218 | Ratings: 1,128
Photo of edward_boumil
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Bright burnt orange beer, relatively turbid, initially pours a thick offwhite head that dissapates. Minimal lace
S: Tons of spice, like corriander and clove, peppery phenol, wheat esters. Fresh dough as well
T: Slight drying bitterness, once again dough wheat notes, lots of phenol. Could use a touch of sweetness
F: Quite crisp and dry. Lots of carbonation, bitter notes lend an astringency. Light in body
O: Its a good beer, a couple of things that could be improved and it would be phenomenal, but still certainly worth a try.

 537 characters

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

Pouring from the 12oz bottle into a chalice glass yesterday, Trappist Ale comes out a dirty blonde color , hints of amber, with lots of haze and some yeast floaties. A bubbly white head hisses and dissipates, leaving some spotty lacing.

Smell is sweet, subtle notes of Belgian ale yeast, some light floral aromas. Flavor starts quite sweet, there's prominent apple and stone fruit notes in the middle, ending is a bit bitter but not too much, the Belgian yeast give off a nice spice, touch of clove.

The feel is pretty light, good carbonation but not as much as their Belgian brethren. Overall a nice patersbier, but only slightly above average compared to what comes out of Belgium.

 685 characters

Photo of BWED
3.77/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

33 cl bottle poured into a tulip.

A- Hazy golden orange. Head is dense and off-white. Pretty good retention.

S- Stone fruit and biscuit.

T- Mild biscuit and a little fruity. Belgian spice in the background.

M- Medium-full body that finishes smooth and sweet.

O- This is a good beer, but it seems to lack the complexity of the real Belgian ales that have been brewed for ages. Maybe time will help these new guys hone their craft. However, they've started well.

 468 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Spencer Trappist Ale has a thin-to-medium, off-white head, a fairly opaque, brilliant-orange appearance, some tan yeast chunks, suspended, throughout, and minimal lacing left on the glass. Aroma is of spiced, white bread, bread crust, subdued stone fruit, and possibly banana. Taste is of those elements, with low bitterness. Mouthfeel is high medium and prickly, and Spence Trappist Ale finishes on the dry and drinkable side of it.


 439 characters

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?

 232 characters

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle, 1/19/15, into an Orval glass.

Not bad! Very bubbly, almost champagne-like. Dry and pleasant. I bet age will be interesting on this one.

 167 characters

Photo of Beginner2
3.69/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A few clues plus my intuition tells me that this brew, currently, has more marketing than craft.
I bought a four pack about a year ago and I disliked the first so much that I decided to have one a quarter and see if it improved (or I grew into it.) Spencer did improve in the middle two bottles, I think mostly because the yeast mellowed. But the 4th had some deterioration... although seemed to go better with the food.

This BPA may have started too fast with the Trappist trappings, but I don't think they found a yeast strain that refined and maybe don't have the quality control. I will try it again in a year or two.

 622 characters

Photo of Apellonious
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

11.2 fl oz, AD156F1 code poured into a tulip.

A - But first, gusher all over the place. Make sure you are near a sink or a receptacle for immediate pour. Cloudy, orange, hazy. Half finger head that settles to a thin lace. Most of the head ended up on my floor and the sink.

S - Sour/funk, yeast, and something off.

T - Taste brings in a well placed Belgian pale. There's a mild sour undercurrent. Some banana, yeast. Drying finish.

M - Carbonation medium, but sharp. Mellows as it warms.

O - Once you get by the gush and some of the aroma notes, you'll settle into a good tasting Belgian pale.

 606 characters

Photo of tekstr1der
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy orange pour with lasting two finger pillow of active near-white tiny bubbles. Aroma of spices - clove foremost - yeast and honey. Lots of yeasties tumbling around in the waves of carbonation bubbles, despite not pouring the last half-ounce. They are large enough to settle to the bottom of the glass. And, I'm not afraid of a little extra vitamin B. Flavor is also slightly spiced, but with a nice balanced sweetness of malt, bubblegum and mild fruity tang. Very active carbonation gives a slight bite, but finish fairly clean. Interesting stuff.

 551 characters

Photo of MikeWard
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip. odd coding, 161, which might indicate a may bottling date.

pours a hazy orange color with a slightly fizzy head which disappears quite quickly. no lacing. poured carefully, but still a few floaties made it in.

nice spice and yeasty aroma, and a hint of alcohol.

taste is pretty smooth, nice blend of spice and faint fruit and the belgian yeasts

feel is just a little bit dry, slightly below medium.

all in all a decent beer. wouldnt say no to another.

 502 characters

Photo of Marius
4.34/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

33cl bottle. Gusher. Hazy dark orange pour with a dusty white head that gives way to a thin lacing. Visible sedimentation. Smells like a doppelbock, of yeast, bananas, spices, caramel and some dark fruit. The taste follows the same notes, wirh some added strawberry jam and pine syrup. Very well balanced sweetness and bitterness.

 330 characters

Photo of erk0607
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Cloudy gold, minimal lacing.
S: fruity, yeast and straw.
T: same as smell... Light fruit, straw, barns, yeast overtones
F: light at first foaming up to a smooth, easy drinking beer.
O: excellent, would not hesitate to get as an easily enjoyable beer

 255 characters

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

 452 characters

Photo of musicsherlock
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

 423 characters

Photo of ordybill
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

 190 characters

Photo of stevoj
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

 230 characters

Photo of Mitchellrhen
3.86/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

 688 characters

Photo of safaricook
4/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

 287 characters

Photo of ClavisAurea
3.75/5  rDev -6%
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.

 276 characters

Photo of The_Dude_31
4.23/5  rDev +6%
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.

 507 characters

Photo of craftbeersweden
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
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!

 401 characters

Photo of illpass78
3.77/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

 491 characters

Photo of philbe311
3.89/5  rDev -2.5%
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...

 1,444 characters

Photo of SLeffler27
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

 850 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.43/5  rDev +11%
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.

 1,999 characters

Spencer Trappist Ale from The Spencer Brewery
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,128 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.