Three Philosophers - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Brewery Ommegang

Three Philosophers - Bourbon Barrel-AgedThree Philosophers - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
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Quadrupel (Quad)
Ranked #33
Ranked #3,492
4.16 | pDev: 7.21%
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: 67 | Ratings: 150 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by emyers:
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emyers from Illinois

4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

Jan 31, 2020
More User Reviews:
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Smakawhat from Maryland

4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep purplish red body color, with nice little line of fine khaki crawling bubbles along the sides. Creamy topped large and controlled rocky three finger tall head, rich and lush. Very nice light khaki to almost off white cream color too. Excellent looking quad.

Real diverse nose. Mineral slightly with nice fig qualities, but also some unexpected pleasant character. Hints of a light coffee bean strangely enough with a little touch of almost champagne like yeast aromas mixing in. Not getting so much barrel qualities, but there's a richness here that's very nice.

Good impressive palate. Light touches of flavors but with thicker body providing still some real good depth. Chocolate mixing malt, with a little bit of raisin to fig flavor. Crisp and even bubbly to some extent adding a little bit of playful quality. A bit of almost waffery toast like flavors, even touches of bread crust and coffee bean.

Real interesting tasting quad, but can't get a picture on the barrel character other than mouthfeel. Otherwise a pretty dang neat spin on a quad.

Dec 21, 2017
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into an Ommegang flute glass. Current version from the rare beer set, 9.7% this time around. Pours a very dark mahogany brown with fine half finger khaki head with great retention and thick lacing. Aroma of mildly caramel malt, whiskey, fresh and dried dark fruit, particularly plum and date. Flavor is caramel malt, whiskey, oaky vanilla, fresh and dried plums, raisins, baker's chocolate and hints of tart cherry. Woody whiskey infused dark fruit finish. Medium bodied with a pleasant creaminess and mouthfeel. A great barreled dark Belgian ale. I'd say it tastes much more like a Belgian strong dark than a quadrupel, with much more dark than lighter fruit elements. Fairly whiskey forward, almost the dominant flavor here, but the base Belgian yeast fruit flavors are more than supportive of the whiskey. Beefy ABV well covered; another of the dangerously flavorful and easy drinking big Belgians. I guess this was brewed by Boulevard, and as a fan of their barrel and high end lines, that does not surprise me. This is a late night, slow savoring, full flavored ale that is very enjoyable. This was a great boxed set, I'm glad I got it in time. I really liked everything in it. This has been a feast of Ommegang this last few months; this three bottle barreled set, a GOT ale and their Anniversary ale, which is still waiting in line and I'm really looking forward to it.

Dec 04, 2017
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sjrider from California

4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
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
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smb71481 from Vermont

4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sep 08, 2020
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TheGent from New Jersey

4/5  rDev -3.8%
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
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BB1313 from Ohio

3.86/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best by 7/18/21. 16oz can poured into a tulip. Pours an auburn/mahogany with ruby hues; creamy khaki head that falls leaving great retention and sticky lacing. The aromas are nice, but subtle. Some caramel and dark fruit. Some vanilla. Mild hints of bourbon and oak. Lots of malts. The flavors are bold. The dark fruits come through. Some raisins and plums. More caramel along with some toffee. More vanilla along with some coconut. The cherries come through. The bourbon is subtle and balanced, but blends well with everything else that's going on. Some oak/wood. Nice malt backbone. Alcohol is well hidden. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with moderate to active carbonation. It's slightly sharp, fluffy, smooth and dangerously drinkable.

This is a nice brew. It's big, but balanced. The bourbon characteristics aren't extreme, but work well. It's enjoyable, well crafted and fun to drink. I like it.

Sep 12, 2019
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
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
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Darkmagus82 from Texas

4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
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
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Gajo74 from New York

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

Pours a relatively clear mahogany brown modest color. A moderate foam head dissipates rapidly.

The nose opens with Belgian yeast like spices, followed by chocolate and dark fruit. Aromas of toasted bread and biscuit interact with raisins, plum and fig. The bourbon barreling emits aromatic notes of wood, oak and lots of cherry.

Very smooth mouthfeel overall along with a moderately sweet rich dark toasted malt base. Notes of chocolate, raisins, plum and fig evoke complex flavors amidst a full bodied, mouth coating and gently carbonated texture. To its credit, it is not too sweet, as several balancing elements add to the complexity. For example, there is a lightly vinous and tart red grape finish throughout. Another example, is a developing mild earthy hops bitterness along with peppery phenols. Finally, the barrel aging truly sets this apart from the original, as there are notes of bourbon, cherry, and wood.

It is impressive how well this beer hides its high ABV and how easy it is to sip. I have had and enjoyed the original Three Philosophers on multiple occasions; the barrel aging adds a nice twist.

Nov 05, 2019
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bbtkd from South Dakota

4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

Dec 20, 2019
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corneliustoad from Florida

4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jun 17, 2020
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prisdefer from New York

3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Friday at 08:27 PM
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Lucular from Maryland

4/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Jan 09, 2020
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BlurryVisi0n from New York

4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
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
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digitalflood from New York

4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
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
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jcoleMA66 from Massachusetts

4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dec 13, 2019
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lordofthewiens from New Mexico

3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Jan 26, 2020
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j0hnc2468 from New York

3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Jul 07, 2020
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hermit990 from Illinois

4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Sep 19, 2019
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Calraven from Michigan

4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Oct 09, 2020
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StoutAtTheDevil from Alabama

3.67/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Oct 21, 2019
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Jason from Massachusetts

3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

Lots of froth, more than expected from a booze barrel-aged brew. Hazed dark reddish hue. Hint of cherry, wood tannin, booze, faint tartness, dry toasted malt, caramel, & brown bread in the nose. Smooth with a semi-thick and slick mouth feel, warming to start with the bourbon barrel really coming through. The Quad really shows hard here, the barrel aging really intensifies it all. Glad I was able to taste this, a real treat.

Apr 22, 2016
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Estrems1 from New Jersey

4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jan 22, 2020
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arizcards from Arizona

4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a 750ml bottle as part of a three bottle gift pack for $29.99. Bottled on 7-28-2017. Best by 28JUL2017.

Beer poured brown with a very nice off white head that has some great hang time.

Nose has hints of bourbon but the dark fruit esters dominate.

Taste has a trace of bourbon, enough to relegate the cherry kriek to a minimal taste. Dark fruits abound. Bourbon counters the sweetness of the original beer in a very positive direction.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

Overall the bourbon influence, light as it is, was very good to the base beer. Nice version!

Feb 03, 2018
Three Philosophers - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from Brewery Ommegang
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 150 ratings