Three Philosophers - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Brewery Ommegang

Three Philosophers - Bourbon Barrel-AgedThree Philosophers - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
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Belgian Quadrupel (Quad)
Ranked #38
Ranked #3,777
4.15 | pDev: 7.23%
Brewery Ommegang
New York, United States
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: 57 | Ratings: 127 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SLeffler27
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.

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Photo of CTHomer
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;

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CTHomer from Connecticut, May 06, 2020
Photo of KRug
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

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KRug from Massachusetts, Apr 24, 2020
Photo of BlurryVisi0n
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!

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BlurryVisi0n from New York, Apr 21, 2020
Photo of StonedTrippin
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...

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Photo of CaptainHate
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.

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Photo of stortore
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.

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stortore from Illinois, Apr 01, 2020
Photo of biboergosum
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.

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biboergosum from Alberta (Canada), Mar 16, 2020
Photo of ryan1788a5
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.

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ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts, Feb 22, 2020
Photo of TheGent
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.

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TheGent from New Jersey, Feb 15, 2020
Photo of digitalflood
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.

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digitalflood from New York, Feb 07, 2020
Photo of Wattie83
4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Next in the 4 pack: bourbon barrel-aged. Looks like the base: deep brown, tan cap lots of carbonation. Smell is cherries, dark fruit, molasses, some bourbon aroma too. Taste is really nice! Bourbon is present with cherry and spicy phenols. Alcohol is there but it blends well. A bit of bitterness in the end, but this is sweet. Feel is a bit thin with good carbonation cleaning things up. Overall, the bourbon barrel treatment worked well. I do like this one quite a bit.

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Wattie83 from Pennsylvania, Feb 02, 2020
Photo of emyers
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can poured into a snifter.

Cloudy amber-brown with thick off-white head, good retention.

Nose: Cherry and Belgian yeast esters. Bourbon barrel is muted.

Taste: Follows the nose. Cherry and yeast forward, caramel malt and bourbon underneath. As in the nose the bourbon is pretty mellow.

Feel: Medium body, low carbonation, very smooth.

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emyers from Illinois, Jan 31, 2020
Photo of zeleve
4.99/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pint can from L071919 best before 07/22/2021, it is the best I've had from Ommegang and one of the best quads I've had in a very long time. The description above is on point. Only minor nuisance would've loved a bit stronger aftertaste since i truly enjoyed it.

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zeleve from Florida, Jan 27, 2020
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

In a goblet the beer was a dark reddish brown color. There was a thin off-white head.
Nice aroma of bourbon, oak, vanilla, and dark fruit.
Bourbon, vanilla, caramel taste. Cherry.
Disappointingly thin mouthfeel.

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lordofthewiens from New Mexico, Jan 26, 2020
Photo of rudiecantfail
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle poured into an Ommegang tulip glass that came with the beer.

L---Dark brown with a reddish tint. Fluffy, light brown head that faded pretty quickly, which is expected for a high ABV beer. It left some, but not much, lacing.

S---Sweet & boozy. Bourbon, caramel, oak & vanilla. Really nice, complex aroma. A winner.

T---Vanilla, caramel, molasses, cherries from the Kriek, some toffee, and obviously some bourbon. Excellent, complex flavors.

F---Full bodied. More carbonation than expected for ABV. Rich & creamy.

O---An excellent beer. Wifey really liked it and drank half of the bottle. Three Philosophers is her favorite beer, so it's no surprise she liked it. I wish I had more, but this was a one-off christmas present that I'll never see again. Oh well, I enjoyed it.

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rudiecantfail from Pennsylvania, Jan 12, 2020
Photo of Lucular
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

5 oz pour on tap. This is a nice bourbon barrel quad, but IMO the barrel aging takes away from the base beer. It's too boozy and the barrel flavors overwhelm the excellent base beer. Glad to have tried it but it's not something I will seek out again.

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Lucular from Maryland, Jan 09, 2020
Photo of puck1225
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a can into a tulip glass. Dark clear reddish brown color with decent head and good lacing. Cherry and sweet dark fruit smell and taste. Very rich taste of dark fruit, toffee, caramel, and hazelnut. A hint of booze, but not very noticeable. Excellent with beef stew!

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Photo of GratefulFC
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a red cherry color. Smell is bourbon and vanilla. Taste is smoother than the normal Three Philosophers. Bourbon blends nicely with the vanilla and brown sugar. Cherries and caramel come in behind. Alcohol is well hidden.

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GratefulFC from Arizona, Dec 25, 2019
Photo of bbtkd
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Ommegang Barrel Aged Three Philosophers Quad, 9.5% ABV. Pours dark brown with a two-finger light brown head that left some spotty lacing. Nose is caramel, bread, and dark fruit. Taste is caramel, moleasses, bread, slight roast malt, slightly sweet, slightly bitter. Excellent mouthfeel, overall outstanding.

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bbtkd from South Dakota, Dec 20, 2019
Photo of Wasatch
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16 oz. Can
Best By: 18JUL2021

Been almost 14 years since I've had a Three Philosophers, WOW!

Poured into a Tree House glass a pretty nice transulcent mahogany color, with some pretty nice carbonation, with a pretty nice one-finger plus tan head, which also leaves a pretty nice medium size island, and some nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is pretty nice, malty, yeasty, with a pretty nice dark fruit complex (grapes, cherries, figs, dates, raisins), bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, some tangy/sour. The taste is pretty nice, malty, yeasty, with a pretty nice dark fruit complex (grapes, cherries, figs, dates, raisins), pretty nice touch of bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, some tangy/sour. Medium body, ABV is hidden pretty nicely, a pretty tasty complex brew. Overall, still a pretty tasty brew. Nice to see the other variant's around here. Might pick up the wine one.

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Wasatch from Colorado, Dec 08, 2019
Photo of mntlover
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark murky brown with some mahogany hints, thumb sized tan head falls quick.

Aroma is malty and dark fruit with bourbon and cherry hints. Caramel malts, brown sugar notes leaning into toffee raisins, figs and cheery hints mingled though out the malts. Bourbon barrels are light lingering underneath it all with some oak and vanilla.

Taste is like the nose nice malty brew lots of sugar sweetness and dark fruits mingles, light touches of bourbon barrels, cherry, oak and vanilla along with some spices from the yeast. Fairly straight forward nothing to complex but well done.

Mouthfeel is little lighter then you would imagine for a big sugary brew, carbonation is lightly peppy.

Overall not bad could maybe use a little more time in the barrels, but the bourbon defiantly doesn't distract.

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mntlover from Tennessee, Dec 02, 2019
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can: Poured a brown color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention with some lacing. Aroma of caramelized malt notes with some light cherry and bourbon notes. Taste is a great mix of caramelized malt, dry raisin, cherry with some smooth bourbon notes with light vanilla and oak notes. Body is about average with good carbonation. Solid base beer to being but bourbon does indeed increase the complexity of flavours.

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Phyl21ca from Quebec (Canada), Dec 02, 2019
Photo of darktronica
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Packaged in pint cans now, weighing in at 11% ABV. Not that much different from the base Three Philosophers, to my palate and memory. I've always enjoyed this as an excellent quad in its own right, with just enough kriek (3%, IIRC) to provide some fruity tartness and kick that balances the base sweetness. I don't personally get much barrel quality.

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

A - Black cherry color with nice clarity and a dense tan creamy lacing ring

S - Cherry, toasted toffee malt, light bourbon with a little bit of sweetness.

T - Light cherry, bourbon, light caramel toffee malt. lingering cherry, light toffee, and light bourbon on the back side. Ends on the the sweet side and a really nice ending.

M - Thick and velvety on the palate with light prickly carbonation.

O - An unobtrusive and enjoyable barrel sipper.

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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania, Nov 19, 2019
Three Philosophers - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from Brewery Ommegang
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 127 ratings