Three Philosophers - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Brewery Ommegang

Three Philosophers - Bourbon Barrel-AgedThree Philosophers - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Quadrupel (Quad)
Ranked #35
ABV:
12.3%
Score:
91
Ranked #3,676
Avg:
4.15 | pDev: 6.99%
Reviews:
71
Ratings:
160
From:
Brewery Ommegang
 
New York, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  9
Gots
  36
SCORE
91
Outstanding
Three Philosophers - Bourbon Barrel-AgedThree Philosophers - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Notes: We have a new twist on an old favorite coming out in February. Our unique Three Philosophers Quardupel Ale is universally-known as the preferred elixir of life’s meditators, thinkers and theorizers. Now, thanks to Brewmaster Phil Leinhart and the 24 bourbon barrels he got his hands on, mullers of life’s mysteries can ponder all the more deeply.

“We’ve experimented with barrel aging in the past and had great success,” said Brewmaster Phil Leinhart. “Three Philosophers is such a lovely, complex beer and it ages so beautifully that we thought it the perfect fit for pairing with bourbon barrels. The result is exactly what we hoped for: even more complex flavors and a slightly fuller body than the standard. We’re sure this’ll be a crowd pleaser.”

Like the original, Bourbon Barrel-aged Three Philosophers pours a deep burgundy hue with a fluffy, off-white head. Patience through the aging process rewarded the brewers with flavors of caramel, raisin, dried fruit, molasses, and vanilla and aromas of oak, vanilla, and subtle hints of cherry. The body is ample but still finishes faintly dry with lingering hints of malt, bourbon, and cherry. The effects of barrel-aging, eliciting remnant alcohol from the cooperage during the aging process, escalated the ABV of the beer from 9.7% to a significant, yet sneakily subtle, 11.4% ABV.

ABV varies by batch
Reviews: 71 | Ratings: 160 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium from Florida

3.46/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 oz. can. Brown with a reddish tinge and a medium khaki head. Smells of bourbon, dark fruits, and brown bread. Butter? Not like diacetyl. Like real butter. Tastes much more straightforward. Dark fruits, bread, earthy yeast, bourbon. Vanilla and creamy up front, but earthy and oak in the finish. Medium heavy. I was excited for this, but I don't think the bourbon elevates the base beer. The wine version was more dynamic.

Mar 19, 2021
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Continuing to apply an American overlay on the Belgian Dark Ale, Ommegang brewers show that there's an update in taste with every opportunity. And this opportunity means bourbon.

With a deep russet brown pour, Bourbon Barrel Age Three Philosophers builds a dense and tarnish meringue before teasing the senses with impressions of sweetness, spiciness, stone fruit and a twinge of booze. Smooth and malty on the early palate, the initial taste is dense with spice cake, brown sugar, toffy and vanilla.

As the esters open up, the middle palate celebrates the fruitiness of dates, fig, raisin, prune and dried cherry; all seemingly soaked in brandy and rum. Not to be outdone, the subdued spices of clove, allspice, peppercorn and cinnamon bring a certain "Christmas" spice to the session. Low in bitterness, the beer's persistent malts linger into the late palate with a sweeter, winey tone along with those warming whisky, vanilla, light coconut and caramel charms.

Medium full in body, the persistence of the grains and their associated starches play out cream and candied on the finish with a simmering warmth of whisky on the after palate. Ommegang's house flavor has always been about restrained flavors and a richer malt body and these play out very well with the added complexity of the bourbon and oak.

Mar 16, 2021
Photo of mushroomcloud
mushroomcloud from Texas

3.81/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottled 7-10-20, best by 7-10-23. Opened 2-14-21.
2 finger sand colored head with a frothy chocolate milk like cap. Dense foam with excellent retention.
Amber and mostly opaque. Full sheet of lacing.
Sweet red cherry to start. Toffee, wood spice.
Cherry, weak bourbon, caramel apple, tart fruit, late vanilla.
Medium body, low + carbonation, and a creamy mouthfeel. Some warming. Semi-sweet and lengthy finish.
Very Good.

Feb 15, 2021
Photo of backblast
backblast from Alaska

4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted a little like a sweet bruised apple at first with a boozy note. The bourbon barrel showed a bit later and it has in cherry in the aftertaste. Not bad.

Feb 13, 2021
Photo of HoppingMadMonk
HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy murky,reddish brown color. Around a medium body with at keystone a medium amount of champagne like carbonation
Aroma is a strong mix of dark fruit, malt,candi sugar, molasses, alcohol, and sweet rolls.
Taste is similar to aroma but with mild sweetness at the same time it comes off almost dry like. Dark fruit and molasses foremost but followed by everything else that showed up in the aroma.
Overall this was a really excellent, flavorful beer that is an excellent sipper on a cold evening.

Jan 06, 2021
Photo of BeachRunner
BeachRunner from Washington

4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look - clear, chestnut brown with a very long lasting light tan head.

Smell - toffee/molasses sweetness and dark fruit (raisin? plum?) with a hint of vanilla,

Taste - very sweet dark molasses/caramel and dark fruits. Cherry in aftertaste.

Feel - medium to thick mouthfeel , creamy.

From The Three philosophers sampler pack. Wonderful Quad rivals real Belgians like Chimay.

Jan 04, 2021
Photo of Darkmagus82
Darkmagus82 from Texas

4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a Ommegang tulip glass
Appearance – The beer pours a rusty reddish-brown color with a one finger head of tan colored foam. The head has a great level of retention, slowly fading over time to leave a decent showing of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.
Smell – The aroma of the brew is very heavy of a bourbon smell mixed with a rather decent showing of cherry as well as a nice bit of oak and some toasted malt. Along with those aromas come some smells of funk and hay and a little bit of yeast and char. Overall, rather boozy, yet inviting.
Taste – The taste begins strong of a toasted malt flavor mixed with some candied sugar sweetness as well as some dark fruits of plum and raisin. Along with these flavors are some tastes of cherry as well as a bit of yeast and spice of coriander and clove. As the taste advances the cherry grows stronger and is joined by some tastes of funk and hay. Along with the funk and hay, so too comes some of the bourbon that was detected in the nose, with it accompanied by some oakiness and a touch of smoke. With the increase in the cherry, arrival of the funk and bourbon, and the slight loss of the roastiness, one is left with a warming and very smooth and flavorful taste to linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel- The body of the brew is medium to slightly thinner in body (for a 10.5 % Abv brew) and slightly higher in carbonation. For the mix of funk and quad, as well as waring bourbon tastes the feel is great and makes for a nice easy sipper.
Overall – A very nice renditioning of the classic. I think this is one par with or surpassing the original. Quite a nice varietal.

Jan 03, 2021
Photo of mycousinvinny
mycousinvinny from New York

4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours deep mahogany with a lasting 2 inch frosty head
smells well balanced between cherries and bourbon,
taste is of cherry, vanilla, and oak, cherry is dominant with caramel in the background
Medium bodied, semi dry
great winter brew

Dec 09, 2020
Photo of sjrider
sjrider from California

4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can - dark carmine/mahogany color with thick off white head leaving scads of lacing. Nose is dark stone fruit with whiffs of barrel and alcohol. Taste follows with more dark/dried fruit sweetness and slight alcohol creep. Finishes a bit thin and slightly dry/woody.

Nov 18, 2020
Photo of Tripel_Threat
Tripel_Threat from Michigan

4.56/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quite excellent variant. Barrel aging adds a nice vanilla, wood, and slight booze notes to the already excellent base. Much dark fruit sweetness still abounds in aroma and flavor, with a richness of feel.

Nov 18, 2020
Photo of Storm_Rryder
Storm_Rryder from Iowa

4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had the regular version a long time ago before keeping track, I don't remember but think that I like that better than this barrel version. That said, this is still rather tasty but I think this fits better with stouts than tripel/quadruple beers. It masks the original taste rather than add to it. I'm glad I had it although unlikely to buy this again.

Oct 23, 2020
Photo of oberon
oberon from North Carolina

3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into a Hennepin stemmed glass a rich mahogany color with a near two finger light beige head atop,very pillow-like,it settles very slowly into a frothy mass.Mainly bourbon and toasted oak in the nose,mild alcohol sweetness comes thru as it warms.Dark fruits,spiced phenols with a peppery bite up front on the palate,the vanilla-tinged bourbon comes late into the finish.It's good but not great,I thought it might have more complexity,again not great but good.

Sep 05, 2020
Photo of dapatriot1
dapatriot1 from New York

4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

pours deep mahogany with a amazing 2 inch frosty head
smells well balanced between cherries and bourbon,
taste is of cherry, vanilla, and oak up front;, cherry is dominant with caramel in the background
Medium bodied, semi dry
very good night time or even fall brew!

Aug 23, 2020
Photo of theBubba
theBubba from New York

4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was one of a 3 Philosophers four pack sampler with free glass. For $10!!!. I immediately cornered the local market. But on to the beer. Poured dark with a snowy white head. Not a huge head but the cleanest, whitest head I remember seeing. The lace was white and clingy to the end. The taste was an amazing blend of raisons, caramel, dark fruit and sour mash bourbon. Good body and great mouthfeel. The high ABV was a welcome addition to the mix. It was there but never overwhelming. Like the candles on the cake. Well done, Ommegang.

Jun 19, 2020
Photo of SLeffler27
SLeffler27 from New York

4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

This beer is almost clear, very dark copper. A short-lived, fine beige foam settles to a ring within one minute. Rapid, tiny columns of carbonation rise from within. The head leaves no lacing on a PBGC Aromatic glass.

The aroma is very well balanced between cherries and bourbon, with a clear, yet secondary, background of oak. Dates, prunes, raisins, and plums form a nice, earthy fruit structure. Light molasses and brown sugar lift the sweetness.

The flavor opens with light bitterness, quickly followed by cherry, bourbon, oak and plum. Other dark fruits from the aroma are present, while the brown sugar and molasses are more pronounced than from the aroma. The finish is light and quick. Overall, it is surprisingly crisp. Warmth brings out light peppercorns and vanilla.

A medium body is just short of full with a strong presence of fine carbonation. Alcohol is well below expectation and the texture is similar to satin.

I found this to be a good late evening beer. It is a well-done variant of the exceptional base beer.

May 31, 2020
Photo of CTHomer
CTHomer from Connecticut

4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: crystal clear; mahogany in color; 1 finger finely pored tan head that receded to a wispy cap; OK lacing;

S: cherry, mint, and oak;

T: cherry, vanilla, and oak up front; from the middle through the finish, cherry is dominant with caramel in the background;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation; moderately dry finish; ABV is warming, but not hot;

O: a really nice sipper;

May 06, 2020
Photo of KRug
KRug from Massachusetts

4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Best by July 2021

Pours a rich chestnut brown with a slight red hue, about 2 fingers of tan head with a bit of lacing

Big aromas of toffee sweetness and dark fruit greet the nose first, more subtle hints of vanilla, oak, and just the slightest cherry, almost sweetly fruit

Wow, this one is a lot in the taste, like a big sweet BA barleywine, wonderful barrel notes compliment the sweet caramel malts and date/raisin vibe. I wish the kriek part of the blend came through more in here, I just get a slight tart hint on the back end of the sip

Some nice carbonation here for the abv, full bodied but not too heavy even with the alcohol esters, finishes with a light tart bite but very smooth

Very impressed for my first quad, though I wish the cherry was more present. Regardless, this was stellar

Apr 24, 2020
Photo of BlurryVisi0n
BlurryVisi0n from New York

4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Served in an over-sized wine glass from a 750ml bottle.

Appearance: Deep dark mahogany color with medium to full bubbles on the body. Off white head which rose initially half a finger's length with a vigorous pour. Granted the brew was pretty cold.

Smell: tarty aroma which lingers around for a bit after the beer warms down.

Taste: Honey and tarty all at once feeling a bit sweet with hints of a very light nutmeg giving the beer a touch spice to it.

Mouth: Deep body which sticks pretty hard, like biting a cookie and still tasting it before you pick up the next one. Makes you think of those holiday cookies that come in the tin container.

Overall: Good brew and not far off the original. I hate to say it, but could be a re-label. You be the judge. Salud!

Apr 21, 2020
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

super glad i was able to track one of these down, i thought i missed it, its delicious, a wonderful last beer of the evening, sitting around the campfire, really unbeatable, warms up super well, is boozy but not hot, complex as can be, although i think at the end of the day, the red wine edition takes the cake, there is just a little more depth to it, and its more unique, nothing quite like it really, i think the dark berries bring out more of the kriek element in the blend, which seems almost lost to big caramel, toffee, burnt sugar, and vanilla richness in this one, but its very wintery and cozy and high end. the wood and the whiskey go so well with the base beer, and enhance its malt depth, raisin and honey and maple character through most of it, natural vanilla bean, light tannins, baked dessert, and plenty of alcohol. its soft in feel, delicate even for its size, almost a bottle conditioned liveliness and velvety texture going on which is really impressive from the can, not too heavy to drink at all, and one i am happy to allow to warm in my glass as time goes by. delicious special edition of one of the all time classics, i bet this would age pretty well in a bottle, but still, for my money, the wine barrel edition is the clear winner so far. i could see rum being an interesting treatment for this too down the road sometime...

Apr 19, 2020
Photo of CaptainHate
CaptainHate from Ohio

3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16 ounce can into a DFH tulip. Bought summer 2019. 9.5%. Stored at 50 degrees.

Poured a dark mahogany red color under a fluffy light tan head which left abundant lacing as it dissipated. Smell was underwhelming with cherries being predominant before and after it warmed up with a hint of barrel. Taste was better as some of the trademark quad flavors emerged under the cherries and barrel but the taste was thinner than expected given what I recall of the base beer's flavor (granted my palate may have changed a lot). Mouthfeel was fine for this style.

This was slightly disappointing. Ommegang was my first favorite craft brewery and I bought this with high hopes that weren't realized. The Double Barrel Dubbel, bought at the same time, was more enjoyable. Maybe this is better fresh.

Apr 12, 2020
Photo of stortore
stortore from Illinois

3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16 ounce can into a goblet. 2019 release, best by 7/18/21, had 11/27/19. 9.5%

Pours a coppery red color, mostly clear, with a one and a half inch foamy head and some foamy lacing. Aromas of cherries, grapes, malt, some plums, light bourbon, light toffee, light oak, a little Belgian yeast. Flavors of cherries, some grapes and plums, lighter malt, light bourbon, light vanilla and caramel, some oak. Smooth, a decent medium body but thinner from the kriek, well carbonated.

This is a little disappointing as the aromas and flavors lack intensity. Been years since I had the original, but have a fonder memory. The barrels are light enough that it’s hard to say that they really add anything to this. Worth a try, but temper your expectations.

Apr 01, 2020
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.77/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16oz can - this one comes in at 9.5% ABV (which seems like a cheat on the original), and is an apparent collaboration with Boulevard Brewing (natch), for the simple job of canning the product? Anyways, a 'blend of Quadrupel Ale and Belgian Kriek Ale with cherries'. Yeah.

This beer pours a murky, dark reddish brown colour, with three fingers of puffy, finely foamy, and somewhat creamy tan head, which leaves some random streaky cloud pattern lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of bready and doughy caramel malt, some black stone fruitiness, subtle under the stairs musty notes, a faint Bourbon barrel oakiness, and some bridling alcohol heat. The taste is gritty and grainy caramel malt, biscuity toffee, plum, cherry, and prune fruity esters, still ethereal wooden Kentucky hooch, and very, very tame earthy, musty, and herbal hop bitters.

The carbonation is average in its palate-pinging frothiness, the body a solid medium weight, and mostly smooth, but for a touch of barrel-borne you-know-what maybe making for a bit of a bumpy ride at this particular juncture. It finishes trending dry, the malt starting to give in to the extenuating circumstances.

Overall - this is an agreeable enough iteration of the style, with the corporate cherry and barrel treatment as soft as the conceit here. Not a bad brew, to be sure, but nothing too different from the base, which I am now sad to have just written.

Mar 16, 2020
Photo of ryan1788a5
ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

16oz can poured into a chalice.

A: Tawny colored with a deep brown/ruby hue. Three fingers of bubbly, almost beige head retain very well. Thin and delicate rings of lacing.

S: Brown bread, treacle, crust, golden raisins, bit of anise, clove, and vague spices. Whiffs of oak, some barrel char, and bourbon. Some nougaty vanillins in there too.

T: Christmas pudding in a glass. Brown bread, treacle, plump golden raisins, big kick of spices like clove and nutmeg. Brown cocoa. Plum and dark fruits. Subtle hint of tart cherry. Oak and barrel are a bit more subdued than the nose suggested, but add a subtle backing of dusty oak, bourbon, and a bit of char. Dry finish holds some fading fruit, spice, and wood.

M: Full in body with a sense of richness but little apparent weight. Soft, creamy, and airy texture. Highly effervescent with active, scrubbing carbonation that lifts it right off the tongue. Mild tannin and alcohol warmth.

O: Fantastic. As good as Three Philosophers already is, the barrel aging elevates it into elite status. I never want to drink any other version of this beer now.

Feb 22, 2020
Photo of TheGent
TheGent from New Jersey

4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Back-to-back with the base beer, my review of which is here:

Look: Murky and translucent. Deep and dark amber - light brown color with a ton of sediment as I drained the entire bottle into my glass. Khaki colored head settles to a thin layer across the top of the beer and a thicker ring of foam around the edge of the glass. A small amount of visible carbonation.

Smell: Estery yeast Aromas of pear, raisins and apple. Some rotten fruit too. Dark bread.

Taste: On the tip of the tongue you get sweet some sweet sugary notes that carry through to the middle. The fruits are similar to the aroma, but getting more of the raisin and some light fog flavor. The sweet fruitiness has a little bit of a caramel apple thing going on. The yeast contributes greatly to the flavor. Some overly ripened banana. A touch of woody bitterness in the middle and on the finish. I think there are some cherry notes but they really come through as something like a brandied cherry. Nothing about this beer says kriek, I’d that’s what you’re looking.

Feel: Medium bodied, semi dry, prickly carbonation. The 9.7% ABV warms the palate perfectly.

Overall: A classic beer. And a great introductory beer for someone new to Belgian style beers. It’s not the most complex of Belgian style beers, but it’s really good. It’s also priced well compare to imports.

And here are my thoughts on BBA version for this entry:

BBA Three Philosophers. ABV up from 9.7% to 10.5%. The barrel really comes through on the smell and taste. Sweet oak, toasted coconut and vanilla. It hides the fruit on the nose and really changes the aroma of the beer completely. It has a similar impact on the flavor. Overall, the beer tastes less “Belgian” to me. I think the yeast esters are downplayed here with the bourbon barrel aged treatment. Again, a great entry point for someone interested in trying a BBA Belgian-style beer, but not the most complex.

The look of this one is a bit darker. Just by a shade.

Feb 15, 2020
Photo of digitalflood
digitalflood from New York

4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mind blowing. Perfect. Vanilla. Bourbon. Oak. Creme. Tannins. Touffe, caramel and biscuit. Candy. Cherries. Raisin. Brandy. Sugar cookies. So many layers of taste. Smells of booze and caramel. Dark body. Hazy. Good head retention and lacing. Excellent mouthfeel. Truly the total package.

Feb 07, 2020
Three Philosophers - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from Brewery Ommegang
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 160 ratings