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Spencer Monks' Reserve Ale | The Spencer Brewery

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Spencer Monks' Reserve AleSpencer Monks' Reserve Ale
Very Good
95 Ratings
Spencer Monks' Reserve AleSpencer Monks' Reserve Ale

Brewed by:
The Spencer Brewery
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Belgian Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Spencer Monks’ Reserve Ale is fragrant, robust and full bodied, mahogany in color and crowned with a dense, tan, frothy head. Its malt-forward profile yields to a warm finish. The recipe development phase of this Quad stretched over three years and 13 experimental brews. The Spencer monks sought an alternative to the use of spices for flavor enhancement by pushing the boundaries of traditional Trappist Quad malt profiles, even incorporating some local barley grown in nearby Barre, MA which was craft malted in Hadley, MA. The outcome is a unique product with a distinct flavor profile well situated within the Trappist family of Quadrupel ales. Trappist Quad 10.2% abv.

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Ratings: 95 |  Reviews: 36
Photo of pjh36
5/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of RochefortChris
4.78/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Rukeli76
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of justme
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very Belgian in character. Very good. Full of flavor. Just not a real stunner.

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Photo of brandonld23
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Toph2112
4.29/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours deep dark mahogany with a frothy, pillowy tan head that lasts forever. Cherry, raspberries, caramel cake, smokey dark malts and some booze spice in the nose. The taste is very malty with a stewed fruit character. Chicory notes in there too. Light leafy hops are nearly imperceptible. medium body with lots of creamy carbonation. Some alcohol heat, fruitiness and somewhat coarse roastiness in the finish.

A nice Quad that could perhaps benefit from a fuller body. I still recommend it.

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Photo of Ui7y
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice take on a big Belgian Trappist. 10.2% is very well hidden. Taste—all spice, clove, candy. Overall, an excellent winter offering.

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Photo of Cramshawbar
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not a bad attempt at a Belgian, a style that usually means "fail", even by many of the Belgian breweries. Spencer doesn't quite get it right either...there is that metallic taste that characterizes the brews that miss the trappist mark. But this is still drinkable and surprisingly soft.
A bit pricey for what you get, but you can still buy with confidence.

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Photo of GoHabsGo
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of SXM
3.36/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of dansushi
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jkblr
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle bb 3/01/20 poured into a Spencer signature chalice at fridge temp 10.2% ABV. The beer pours dense medium brown in color with short lived light brown head. The head recedes to a few bubbles and a thin ring. The aroma is brown sugar, raisin and bubblegum. The taste is burnt sugar caramel and spice over rich malt. The finish is wet and not slightly bitter with a licorice note to keep it from being cloying. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with less than medium carbonation. No alcohol presence in the aroma or taste. Overall, good. Nice quad, but I find the spice to be too much and the dark fruit lacking. Nothing wrong, but not playing to my personal preferences.

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Photo of polloenfuego
3.72/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep mahogany brown with a fluffy three finger off white head. Retention is excellent and lacing is quite good.

Smell is fruity and yeasty. True to the style, I get dark fruits, a touch of candi, some yeast and assorted winter spices including clove and nutmeg.

Taste follows the nose to a certain limit. I get the yeast and dark fruit for sure, and the spices are there, perhaps overpowering. It just really falls short though. Oddly a burnt taste in there too.

Feel is alright, about the right body for a quad, if not a touch light. Finish is actually quite bitter and not what I expect for the style. Spice is pervasive throughout.

Not what I would call a Trappist quad. In fact nowhere near what I expected. I'd rather spend my money on some St Bernardus or Rochefort.

 788 characters

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

Poured in a Chimay glass at Las Buenas Pulgas. Black colour, medium off white head and medium retention. Creamy lace. Aroma of spices, cloves, cardamom, dried fruits, prunes, raisins, coffee, chocolate, and just a little bit of wood smoke. Medium body, creamy texture, good carbonation. Sweet finish. Taste of cloves, caramel, dried fruits, chocolate, coffee.

 359 characters

Photo of Patches826
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of aasher
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of RayCannata
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Damasen
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of BEERchitect
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

In what's this abbey's grandest of grande cru to date, the brothers of The Spencer Brewery employ a specialized grouping of spices to push the dry and drinkable sense of a darker, strong Belgian styled ale well past what an ale of such imperialized status should.

Deep garnet and well capped with a wet sand rocky froth, their Monk's Reserve Ale grips the nose with a medley of dark and toasted spices along with dark fruit, toast and a faint smokey scent. Equally toasty and laced with brown sugar, the beer's malt profile lies on the seared side of steely caramel.

As the ale embarks upon the middle palate, its sweetness dampens just a bit and the intertwine of fruit and spice largely frame the bulk of flavor. Grilled fruits of blackcherry, blackcurrant, plum, blackberry, red grape, blueberry and fig pull from the malt and wait on a quick rebuttal of roasted clove, cinnamon and allspice for an even keel yet complex taste. Add in the toasted edges of campfire, peppercorn and vinous spice and the late palate isn't shy on variety either.

Medium full and lightened with expressive carbonation, the beer's dryness is further fueled by brandy warmth, dissolving malt sweetness and a piquant carbonic bite. Although the fruit and malt die off at a medium length aftertaste, its peppery twinge and fortified wine spices linger much longer.

 1,345 characters

Photo of Ninjakillzu
4.73/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Pint Defiance tulip. The body is a dark brown with a finger white head. Aromas consist of dark fruits, coffee, a hint of butterscotch, fruitcake, and some yeasty ester undertones. Flavors are the same. The feel is heavy bodied with medium carbonation. The alcohol is a bit hot on the finish. Somewhat different from traditional Belgian Quads, but still quite good.

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Photo of Rlhj
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I beer best sipped and enjoyed. but a quality quad for sure.

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.01/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle served in a tulip glass. Best by 06/21/19. Date stamp B33 15:59.

Appearance: A slow pour to leave the sediment behind left a clear dark ruby-red to mahogany-colored beer with a thin light tan head that slowly died back. An occasional island of lacing was noted to slide back down the glass to join the persistent ring of foam.

Smell: Yeasty, sweet bread aroma, fruity esters, dark fruits, a bit boozy, and some underlying spicy aroma.

Taste: Toffee, dark fruits, a hint of molasses, and a roasted malt bitterness that has aspects of coffee and bittersweet chocolate. Some alcoholic/boozy fruity esters noted as well.

Mouthfeel: Good thickness and prickly carbonation. A bit astringent though. Definite warming from the alcohol.

Overall / Drinkability: A slow sipping and savoring beer for sure. Probably one of the more bitter quads I've had, but it works. Definitely a good beer for winter, but after a good meal on a Friday after a long week of work, it works as a treat even though it's summer. Definitely something to have again.

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Photo of OriolesFan1008
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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Spencer Monks' Reserve Ale from The Spencer Brewery
Beer rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 95 ratings