St. Vrain Tripel | Left Hand Brewing Company

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St. Vrain TripelSt. Vrain Tripel

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Tripel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by cbl2 on 10-15-2006

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Reviews: 99 | Ratings: 250
Photo of Braudog
4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Happy St Valentines Day to me as I celebrate with this 750ml bottle of St Vrain, for which I heaped out $16. After de-corking the nice painted bottle, I poured a textbook Tripel. Golden orange with a medium activity level, the tiny carbonation rising to an ever present if thin foam topping. I can get a whiff of the aroma from 2 feet away as I type ... yeasty and bready. As I sip it here at my desk, I revel in the nice honey-nectar sweetness that’s countered with just a hint of dry finish. This hits the spot tonight. (#2702, 2/14/2007)

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Photo of ppoitras
4.35/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle purchased at Julio's, Westboro, MA. Corked and caged.

Poured in a heavy glass chalice, formed a 3/4" white head over the clear dark golden brew. Head holds on valiantly, with moderate delicate white lacing. Aroma is sweet pale malts with spicy yeast character. Taste follows along, being remarkably evenly balanced between the sweet and the spicy, offsetting each other nicely. Close shows glints of those flavors, as well as light warmth and a glimpse of alcohol. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both excellent as well. Worth your time and money.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Resplendent clover honey with sprinklings of yeast falling slowly in a downward direction and fine bubbles racing rapidly in an upward direction. I keep hoping that some American brewer will figure out how to create a Belgian-style head on their Belgian-style beer. This one comes closer than most. The cap is rich ivory in color and has a surface that looks like torn French bread. Unfortunately, some of that initial magic is lost on subsequent pours.

The nose pretty much nails the style. There's an abundant amount of pear nectar and spicy clove, neither one overpowering the other. Another great feature is that alcohol is virtually absent; quite a feat for such a high-ABV beer. My hopes are rising by the minute.

One of my first thoughts is that Left Hand has done a more than credible job with St. Vrain Tripel. Outside of the mighty Allagash (who I'd put in the same category with Belgium's best), there aren't a lot of outstanding tripels floating around out there in the U.S. of A. I'm not ready to bestow greatness on this one, but at least it tastes authentic.

A prodigious amount of pale malt and a hefty amount of candi sugar give the beer the rock solid backbone that is essential whenever a tripel is being constructed. Given the delicious sun-ripened fruitiness (golden apples, buttery pears, ripe bananas... bubble gum) and the warm spiciness of ground clove, I have to believe the brewery got ahold of a true Belgian yeast strain. I'm not a brewer, but I'm guessing that it's next to impossible to brew a good tripel without kick-ass yeast.

As in the nose, alcohol is superbly masked. So much so that I'm gulping faster than I should be if I intend to make any sense from here on out. The mouthfeel probably won't remind anyone of Tripel Karmeliet, but it's plenty good in its own right. A healthy number of bubbles work behind the scenes (thank goodness) to lighten what might have been an overly sticky beer.

I'm impressed and am becoming more impressed as the ounces pass. I have no idea if Left Hand plans to release any of the 'Big Mo' beers again, but I vote for Smoke Jumper Smoked Imperial Porter and St. Vrain Tripel to be regular releases. Seasonal releases at the very least. Nice job guys. Keep 'em coming.

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Photo of Tolnik
4.32/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This yellowish golden beer pours with a fair amount of foam. The foam reduces down to a light lacing a top the beer. The beer has the aroma of coriander, wheat, fruit tones and slight malts. The taste of the beer follows suit with slight differences stronger coriander and banana tones. Overall a great beer to enjoy during summer.

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Photo of TexIndy
4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Chimay snifter. The front label (painted) had a cool design and the back label (also painted) had a story on who St. Vrain was and what went into the beer. Label also noted that was 2006 Bottle Conditioned. The color was a light golden/brass. The head was a foamy 1/4 inch that turned into a consistent thin top that remained throughout and was feed by a constant stream of bubbles from the bottom. The aroma was nice and malty with a spicy sweetness in there as well. It's listed at 9% ABV but it does not taste alcoholish unlike some Tripels that I've had recently - pretty well balanced. The taste is very good but not overpoweringly awesome like Allagash which is still my favorite and top rated Tripel. With that said, this is still top 3 for Tripels. As it warms the flavors develop even more and go nicely with the warming from the alcohol. Good creamy, bubbly mouthfeel as well. Highly recommend especially if you like the style. Another excellent offering from a great brewery. Will cellar a couple and try again as they age. (4.5, RR, T, Y)

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A just purchased 2013 vintage bottle – best by 5/2016 – poured into a tulip glass.
L: The beer lets off a loud hiss upon popping the cap. It pours hazy straw gold under a 1” white foam cap that takes 3 minuted to reduce to a thick, lacy film.
S: Citrus, fruit, over ripe fruit, light grains.
T: Tropical fruit, some peach, apricot, marmalade like bitter finish with citrus rind, tropical fruit, melon and traces of cantalope.
F: Creamy, some pleasant warming, medium body, medium carbonation.
O: A refreshing, easy to drink tripel.

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Photo of katan
4.23/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz into a pint

A - Pours a light golden color, to just a little bit above a straw. Lots of pearly white head. Very clear, bright.

S - A combination of pilsner malts, sweet and slightly grainy, along with a decent amount of spicy coriander and even a little bit of fresh cut flowers.

T - Starts off nicely malty, pilsner malts, sweetness, more of the coriander and flower petals. Mid-stream gets some alcohol warmth. Hopping is about zero. Finishes clean, a little bit of sweetness and some alcohol warmth.

M - Full bodied, light carbonation. Alcohol warmth as noted in the flavor. Pretty clingy - must be a significant amount of sugars behind this baby.

O/D - A very good triplel - it doesn't overwhelm you in any characteristic, however just subtly brings through the complexity of the style. ABV is up there, as expected, but well hidden. Not at all filling. A great beer.

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Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into chalice, 2013 vintage. Pours fairly crystal clear bright golden amber color with a 1 finger fairly dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big pear, apple, lemon, banana, clove, pepper, honey, candi sugar, bread, floral, herbal, bubblegum, and yeast earthiness. Awesome aromas with great balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast esters with moderate malts; and good strength. Taste of pear, apple, lemon, banana, clove, pepper, honey, bread, candi sugar, bubblegum, herbal, floral, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of light fruits, banana, lemon, clove, pepper, candi sugar, bread, honey, bubblegum, herbal, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast flavors with light-moderate malt presence; and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, and lightly slick mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent Tripel style! All around great balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast flavors with moderate malts; and very smooth and crisp to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.22/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750ml caged and corked bottle(room temp) a cloudy straw gold with a huge head of foam that shrank slowly leaving a solid layer with lots of lacing.

The smell is all yeasty and has strong notes of dark fruit like plum and fig as well as lemony citrus. A nice nose overall.

The taste has that sweet dark fruit and malt up front but the candi sugar mentioned on the label is what I'm noticing the most...that and a side note of banana that works its way in about midway through and adds some good depth. The finish is a nice mix of sweet and sour that leaves me smacking my mouth in an attempt to keep the flavours going. far as the high abv goes, there's certainly a bit of warming but it's not present in the tasting at all. This is a Tripel that I'd buy again without hesitation!

Bottom line: This is a very good effort and worth trying if you see it in a store near you. My hat's off to Left Hand!

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Photo of Billolick
4.17/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber, $10.99 @ DeCiccio's in Ardsley, NY. No feshness info offered. Pours lighter golden wheat, slightly hazed, a large yeast deposit is on the bottom of the bottle and the second pour adds this further cloudy inducing substance to the mix. Moderate, fine near white head. Leaves fine patterns of light lacing. Lacks the long lasting voluminous head thats so common amoung the all stars of the style. Tropical fruits, light bubble gum and slight pepper in the nose. Yummy brew, more light pepper, ripe fruit, bubble gum, gin and lime flavor notes picked up. 9% no where in sight. Fine tripel. Delicate and well crafted. Belgian lovers go get some and enjoy.

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Photo of chadspivey
4.16/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a light golden yellow with a one finger white head. Leaves a really nice lacing. 4.5

S: Belgian and pale. crisp. Hints of Citrus fruits. 4

T: floral hops. Belgian yeast. 4.5

M: Not bad. Crisp for a belgian. 4

D: VERY drinkable for 9 percent. This is a dangerous beer. 4.5

A very drinkable and smooth 9% tripel.... worth it to try a couple times, but very overpriced.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.15/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

appearance: Very clear light golden. Nice enough swath of white head on the pour that mostly recedes.
smell: Sweet and sour nose with bready malts and clove.
taste: Very nice melding of all the characteristics in the nose with an amazingly easy drinkability.
overall: Man, this is a pleasant surprise. Ratings are meh....maybe I'm a Philistine and aren't dinging this for being removed from a traditional Tripel but I just think it's a damn fine brew. This drinks like a small session beer, alcohol nearly imperceptible.

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Photo of THORN
4.15/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber 2009 bottle conditioned. Poured into Westmalle goblet. Bottom of bottle has visible thick sediment. Served 40-45 F.
A: Honey colored, No lace, and no CO2 bubbles.
S: Sweet honey, spice, and bananas.
T: Initially very sweet intense malt, banana and apples weep, finishes with a lingering chalky spice.
M: Somewhat lifting, Somewhat carbonated, and the alcohol sweeps across mouth pleasantly.
D: I appreciate the flavor, it could cover the alcohol better, but it is enjoyable.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Cloudy golden body with a full upright white head leaving fine speckled lacing behind. Aroma is honey biscuit malts with a barrage of earthiness, delicate floral, and spice's amazing it literally makes women want to stop shaving their armpits. A hippie pleasure in glass form excellent beer if you ask anybody especially women. Flavor consists of bready yeast and abundant spice notes excellent across multiple sources, filled with spicy honey rich biscuit malts sweeter than most but again it's great tasting. Mouthfeel is medium to light bodied higher carbonation with flowing sweet barley that raises the brows without difficulty. Overall it's a beer many will enjoy but few find as pleasure full as this beer is. God bless St. Vrain and her story behind her sainthood.

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Photo of bort11
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to TexIndy for this one.

22 oz bomber poured into a goblet. Nice active white head that leaves an attractive lace on the glass. Clear golden yellow color with active carbonation streamers.
Smell is sweet with pear and lemon fruit notes. Taste follows smell very well.
Mouthfeel is light and effervescent. Very smooth and refreshing.
I'm a little buzzed in reviewing this. I would like to come back and do a more detailed review.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a pretty clear orangish golden with a traditional persistent white head that keep pouring from the center of the glass. The head is still persistent and leaves some heavy lace on the glass after drinking and swirling. This is a very good looking Tripel.

Aroma: I initially got a dry biscuity aroma that was quickly overtaken by a lemon aroma. The aroma is really clean and true to style. It has a noticeable citrus presence along with a subtle spicy note. I don't get any warming in the nose.

Taste: The flavor is pretty good, but a bit disappointing to me after the aroma. It comes across as a bit watery and doesn't have the light mouthfeel that you usually get with this style. There is a subtle warming that comes in late in the finish, and sticks around with you for a while. I can say that the water is clean and doesn't weight you down as is really easy to do for this style. The flip side of this is that it comes across the palate as a bit watery. I do get a bit of sweetness that gives me a subtle syrupy feeling on the back of the throat and it gives me a bit of a lingering impression of a light caramel to hang out with the heat from the alcohol.

Opinion: I really think that this is probably the best offering from Left Hand yet. I really enjoy their Imperial Stout as well as others. The nose of this beer is spot on in that it gives you the anticipation of a refreshing but aggressive Tripel, but the mouthfeel detracts from this beer for me as much as anything. It has a good flavor, and retains its head very well, so maybe I am just out of calibration since I haven't reviewed a beer in a few weeks. I would certainly recommend this beer, and I would try it again. I would say that Allagash is still the best Tripel made in the US, but this one is certainly top notch.

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Photo of jordanmills
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 into a large snifter. Comes out golden and opaque, thick with yeast even after letting it settle, not much carbonation or foam. It smells sweet and yeasty, almost like fresh bread. It tastes sweet with a little bit of spice and a lot of malt. Like a tripel should, imagine that. Feels fairly light on the tongue, but has a lasting smooth finish. It's a great beer, but I'd go for variety.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.08/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the chalice lightly hazy pale golden straw with a frothy white head which rose tall and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was fruity with a strong banana when first poured and as the head grew. After the initial flashoff the aroma became lightly fruity with a moderate spice presence of pepper. A sweetness was noticeable in the aroma through the moussy head, but not a strong presence.

The flavor was lightly sweet at first on the palate with a moderate level of fruit character and a similar level of spice. The spice was pepper and a bit of light clove. The flavor also contained a light citrusy fruit and some subdued banana esters.

The finish was dry with a light lasting pepper and fruit into the aftertaste and fading into the final incantation of the finish. The body was medium with a fairly high level of carbonation and an extremely creamy mouthfeel. No appreciable presence of alcohol was notable except for a bit in the warming after consumption. A very fruity tripel.

750 ml corked and bailed bottle.

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Photo of PorterLambic
4.07/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy, brightl colored yellow with a white head. Head starts about 1" high but dissipates rather quickly and sounding quite fizzy. An island is all that remains, but the retention is quite good.
Smell is malt, yeast, citrus, banana, with light pepper and clove notes. Good balance.
Taste is a well-balanced mixture of malt, pepper, banana, candy sugar and a whiskey-like alcohol note.
Aftertaste has an alcohol based sharpness. It isn't anything bad, just a bit unusual. The sweetness is present and quite nice. Banana and spices carry from the front through the middle and the finish is mellow and warming. This fairly full bodied brew carries a light-to-medium effervescence. A really nice example.

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Photo of NCBeernut
4.07/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Hazy golden color with chunks of yeast that eventually settle to the bottom of my tulip glass. Spicy and a bit fruity yeastiness and candied sugars work well together and just about completely cover the alcohol. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Very drinkable for 9%.

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml cork-in-cage bottle with a half-finger of loose sediment in the bottom, decanted into a chalice yields a hazy ('hazy' as in, 'it contains a gozillion little floaties') amber body capped with a creamy white head that reduces to a sheet and leaves wispy lacing on the glass.

Smell is yeasty, fruity, and mild with just a whiff of a medicinal character.

The flavors of the drink are laid down upon a crisply sugar-sweet and (a tad) malty backbone with fruity notes of fresh peaches, ripe yellow apples, and a soft mellow essence of banana. Wow! Potent warming... I just got up to turn the AC down a notch! Sure, there's a clove note, Hello! An unidentified spicy note lurks as well.... Hmm. Whatever it is, it fits right in! A little flavor and aroma of canteloupe comes forth as the drink warms a bit.

The drinkability is easy and the feel of the drink is superb with spot-on carbonation.

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Photo of cabsandking
4.04/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an attractive golden, a hair shy of crystal clarity, and a white champagne head that reduces far too quickly. Good fruity aroma of pear, lemon, apple, and other notes of rock candy and alcohol esters. The taste is pretty typical of a tripel with a yeasty sourness, apple and lemon pucker, and towards the end some hops and spice complexities. Sugar sweetness is not overpowering and with a relatively low alcohol burn allows it to be very drinkable. Dry and bitter towards the end. Full body, slick mouthfeel, and high carbonation that’s on the low end for a tripel. An delicious spiciness lingers into the finish with some leftover fruity pucker.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.02/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy sunny yellow with a fairly thick, if not too persistent, white head. Aroma is fairly strong, fruity and yeasty with a malty undertone and a hint of butterscotch. Flavor fills the mouth with mainly fruity and yeasty tones, a firm hint of malt, just a touch of sweetness and a little hop bitterness. Texture is smooth as silk and leaves a nice tingle on the tongue.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Left Hand's St. Vrain Tripel pours a clear, golden-brass colored body beneath a short but creamy head of bright white foam. The retention is very good, bolstered by steadily teeming bubbles from beneath, and the lacing is quite nice with mostly solid walls of creamy white lace.

In the nose it's malty with a fruity side that gathers together soft summer berries and freshly sliced apples (hmmm,... La Chouffe yeast?). There's a light maltiness to it, and it's softly sweet with a mild edge of fruit and vanilla.

In the mouth it's lightly tingly and then moderately creamy-smooth with a medium body and gently effervescent carbonation.

The flavor expresses delicate fruit upfront, surrounded by soft malt with a vanilla-cream side. As it warms the malt becomes more prominent, but some spicy alcohol also steps in. It doesn't linger, but it immediately scrubs away the malty/fruity sweetness into a dry and (alcohol) spicy finish. Suddenly refreshed, the palate is again ready for another sip!

Overall, it's very nice, refreshing, and, to at least some extent interesting. But it lacks depth of flavor and complexity in comparison with the best from Belgium and America. Certainly worthy of trying, and very enjoyable, but not stunning.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a vibrant golden-amber with a moderate bright white head. There was about a half inch of sediment lying on bottom of bottle. Peppery colored floaties swirled and danced in the glass.

S: a spicy fruitiness (pineapple, candi sugar, apples and and a lemony hopping.

T: The flavor was yeasty and true to style with pears, apples and some citrusy tones. The overall beer had a sweet spicy and sour character bursting with typical triple fruitiness and finishing with a peppery spicing.

M: There was a noticeable alcohol tinger and warming in the mouthful which was medium bodied, with a lively carbonation factor with warm fruit.

D: Overall a spicy/sour Belgian that drank fairly well with only a slight awarness of the 9.0%abv.

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St. Vrain Tripel from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.73 out of 5 based on 250 ratings.
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