Three Philosophers
Brewery Ommegang

Three PhilosophersThree Philosophers
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Quadrupel (Quad)
Ranked #16
Ranked #2,117
4.18 | pDev: 11.24%
Brewery Ommegang
New York, United States
Three PhilosophersThree Philosophers
Notes: Three Philosophers is a unique blend of a Belgian-style dark ale and Liefmans Kriek, an authentic cherry ale from Belgium. Cherry chestnut in color, it's opaque but not cloudy with full carbonation topped by a smooth, tan head. Flavors and aromas of roasted malt, molasses and brown sugar, dark fruits, brandied raisins and chocolate, Three Philosophers has notable sweetness with low hop bitterness. The mid-palate shows a soft malt center which gives way to a dry, warm, wine-like finish.

The complexity of this beer make it a good candidate for ageing gracefully, as spicy sherry and port notes should intensify.
Reviews: 2,208 | Ratings: 6,800 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by ClavisAurea:
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ClavisAurea from New York

4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage served in a snifter. 12oz bottle.

Appearance: dark ruby with a creamy tan head. Clear and delicious looking.

Nose: massive dark fruits, cherries, raspberries, currants, prunes and plums. The depth of fruit character doesn't seem to have an end.

Taste: follows the nose, a bit of alcohol but it is not distracting. No age oxidation at all. That could be because of the Brett in the 3% Kriek added.

Overall: this is one of the best American Quads on the market. It is year round, cheap and world class. Buy this now.

Sep 26, 2016
More User Reviews:
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RoyalT from Michigan

4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – First off, I held up on the pour after the first couple of ounces came out of the bottle and the head started to roar. I was able to keep it down to two inches or so in my Chimay glass.

The body is a luscious, dirty brown with some good carbonation. [5 min later] The head’s still there so I’m suckin’ some foam and going in.

Smell – The big, bready yeast leads the way here at the nose. The dough is dark with lots of refined sugars along with some good fruits like bananas, peaches, and apricots. There’s a hint of tobacco to this one as well.

Taste – Boy, is this sweet. The darkened yeast is lighter at the taste; the sugars really take over this Quadrupel. The fruits from the nose come on very strong and the “hint of tobacco” (one of my favorite aspects of Belgian Ales) comes on much bigger still.

Everything is playing very well here now that the ale has warmed. The yeast base holds its own (surprisingly) and the complexity of the sugars is well-defined. This is really a terrific Belgian Ale.

Mouthfeel – This is the definition of “fluffiness”. The ale just dances in the cheeks. I’ve found it almost impossible to find an American brewery that can duplicate this mouthfeel – well done Ommegang!

Drinkability – I’m going to start referring to this brewery as OhMyGod. This offering was just incredible.

Comments – What a huge gesture from AleOha to send me not one, but two bottles of this incredible Belgian Ale. He’ll be happy to know that I’m spreading the wealth and will share the second bottle with some local BAs. Cheers to!

May 28, 2004
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Cramshawbar from Canada (ON)

3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I don't know for sure, but I have this feeling that reviewers tend to rate a non traditional beer market's attempt at a traditional beer without direct comparison. So for example, here is an American attempt at a Belgian style and wow, that is pretty good for a US attempt, so 4.25. As I said, I don't have proof of this but I have read that type of review and I must say that it is rather unhelpful.
Allow me to compare this to St. Bernardus, Rochefort or Westvleteren and no, this one is not even close. Of course elements are there, of course it is a fantastic attempt but this is not among the great Quadrupels, no matter how we want it to be. It is strong and yet watery, missing the full body and all its intricacies.
It is absolutely worth a try, but for me here in Toronto, why would I pay the same amount (for an extremely limited time at that) for something that costs as much as St. Bernardus (available year 'round)? That would be ridiculous.
So if Three Philosophers is all you can fetch in this style, go for it, this is decent. If you have access to the real deal, don't bother after an initial trial.

Dec 27, 2016
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hopphead31415 from Virginia

4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I tried this beer several years ago on tap, but it was in a different era in which the artful act of drinking and reviewing beers had not yet been found upon me. Per the request of my dear brother, I have renewed my enthusiasm in this Quadrupel ale by one of the greatest brewers around which is, of course, Ommegang. It boasts a powerful 9.7% ABV and a rather rare one at that, as it is not even. It promises depth and beauty, it tells tales of flavors unspoken, and qualities rare to find in the world of beers dominated by tree-swinging monkeys with zero palate and even less brains (hello Coors, Bud Light, Miller, and Milwaukee).

Look-This beer pours an enigma of color. This means to me that it has a plethora of hues available to those who wish to gaze upon the beauty of this brew. In its natural state, it has a cola-dark and brown ale primary hue. However, in different lights, it will shimmer with a variety of flavor colors. You get copper and amber and also dark freckled beauty with hues that make you want to jump into a syrup tree in Vermont. It leaves thick foamy off-white lacing on the glass that is so heavy that it droops under its own weight.

Smell-I get toffee, nutmeg, spices, brown sugar, and of course a smokey oak and cedar. I get a malt-forward aroma that is laced with a smokey pleasantry that shows up again in the flavor. The smell tells no tales of any alcohol content to speak of. This spins silky tales of deception, for the tongue picks up a different story in the alcohol department.

Taste-The flavor is dynamic and dynamite and complex. It has no hops that are discernable, and a malt-forward medium-bodied complexity that does well on the palate. It plays a game with your nose, but the flavors can be captured by the following description. It has a candied cherry, sherry wine, molasses, smoked cedar, brown sugar, candied plum, red wine like a pinot noir, an earthy pepperiness, nutmeg, cinnamon, chocolate, fruit, and for the holidays a strong note of fruit cake. It was not overly sweet nor distractingly syrupy.

Mouthfeel-The feel is creamy and sweet with a tinge of tartness. It has a high carbonation content that results in a perfectly effervescent component that plays well with the variety of flavors. If you have no tongue to taste, then don’t even bother with this one because it will only tease you.

Overall-This brew is absolutely off the hook. If you normally drink the beer of a moron, then don’t even bother for you are not even close to worthy. If you want a beer that is drinkable and crisp, then this one is for you, but give it a chance and a cold glass to pour into. I think that this one will give a different variety of flavor in each sip so treat her well and pay attention. Cheers!

Jul 24, 2015
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Lunchboxhead from Massachusetts

4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found a bottle from 2010 in my liquor cabinet. Chilled it and opened it today 1/2/2016. This is a seriously complex beer. A ton going on from the spicy opening through to the almost sour finish. This is a beer to be savored as it changes as it warms and oxidizes. This reminds me of almost of a prosecco with the grape overtones but the alcohol reminder at the end elicits a nice warm fuzzy that will keep you coming back until the bottle is empty. I do not know how often I would drink this but I am particularly happy I am doing it now. Consider this a beer you should try at least once. I am very interested in how a fresher one would present.

Jan 03, 2016
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JackRWatkins from Alabama

2.73/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.75

Bottle 750 ml in tulip glass

A: lighter than I had remembered/expected, a color very similar (if I recall correctly) to St. Bernardus prior 8, heavy, oily brown color but with a dash of subtle cherry red (derived from the blending of the kriek I'm assuming). A decent head presence, 2 fingers ivory and creamish color, retention was mild at best, decent lacing.

S: very underwhelming. If I had it to do over again, I would not have used the St. Bernardus glass, the mouth being as open as it is, any prominent aroma dissipated rather quickly, so that may or may not have been my fault. Still, it feels unfair to blame the glass for a shortcoming that a beer of this esteem and stature has. With the inclusion of the leifmans kriek, one would expect to get at least a modicum of cherry in the nose but I detected little to none. mainly it smelled sweet in a boozy fashion, not boozy in and of itself but simply in terms of the nature of the sweetness.

T:Honestly I found the two beers blended here to be, at least in this case, not complementary and generally incompatible, this is not to say that the idea of blending a quad with a kriek is inherently bad, simply to say that to me, it does not so much work here. the dryness, tartness, and acidity of the kriek take center stage here in a big way, disappointingly though, the fruit notes have been relegated to the very back of the profile at best. the cherry is overpowered by the quad, which is in turn overpowered by the tart dry acidity of the kriek.

M:Waaaaaaay too carbonated, as I believe someone else noted, this beer kinda destroys the palate, the heavy carbonation bolsters the briney flavor coming through from the dryness and acidity of the kriek, it buries the malt of the quad under all of that fizzy weight. this beer is very sharp and burns a tad

O:this is not a bad beer, but I believe it to be an overly ambitious one, I think perhaps most of all that's what makes it unsuccessful. The quad style is a monster of a beer style built on the legendary brewing traditions of the trappists. generally, though not as much so in the wake of the later phase of this our american craft beer revolution, very few brewers even attempt to brew quadrupels and even fewer do so with true success. the great ones generally come from the trappists of belgium. three philosophers then, may very well be an adequate or to be more descriptive not a bad beer but once again that's the largest part of the problem, Making a 'passable' quad, either in the sense that it's just not bad for beer or even in the sense that it's just not bad for a quad and even tastes like one, is a lot like duplicating a famous painting, sure you have the skill, but if it is not better than the original or at least equally good yet different, who gives a shit. the equally good yet different here was supposed to be the kriek, and if it truly worked in this beer, I'd be inclined to give it high praise indeed all of the praise it deserves. So while points are most assuredly deserved here for craft and a willingness to experiment, what we are left with is a briny, adequate beer with all of the worst characteristics of the beer it blends in, with none of the things that render those bad characteristics complementary.

Nov 04, 2014
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TerryMills from Tennessee

4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cellared set 2013,14,15 and this is the start of 2018, so ,they have some decent age..

The oldest is very very mellow, mostly sweet raisin taste , not so much yeast or cherry flavor ..

From there they basically get a brighter fresher flavor with more pronounced fresh cherry flavor..

The 2013 is my favorite , these (like all quads I'm sure) are great beers to age.. I would say another couple years easily .

Jan 02, 2018
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ZakFaruki from California

4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Poured from a 750 mL into a tulip, pours a dark copper with an off white head, a fluffy two fingers of foam

S: The classic Belgian funk, sweet malt, and dried fruits as well

T: Sweet malt, with some cherry and a bit of citrus, finishes with a hint of pepperiness

F: Rather light and crisp for a quad, was expecting a bit thicker of a body

O: An interesting take on the style, the dried fruits add a nice complexion as well. Definitely worth investigating to say the least.

Sep 24, 2015
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infinitebruner from Arkansas

4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

February 9, 2015

12 oz bottle, tulip

A – About an inch-plus of light tan, moussy foam head, with moderate-long retention, sits on top a somewhat hazy deep amber to mahogany liquid. Appears a bit thick, with some viscosity, and some light lacing in the glass.

S – Bready, toasty malt, some toffee there as well, with some fruity esters of pear, and residual brown or candi sugar. A very light touch of cherry, and a bit of barnyard funk. Some dried raisins and plums in the background. Hops seem to be low, a somewhat woodsy or herbal impression from what I could find. No bitterness on the nose. Some impression of alcohol.

T – Very malty, again bready and toffee notes, and very sweet, with a lot of residual sugar, possibly dark candi sugar. The slightest hint of bittersweet chocolate. Very light impression of dark fruit, like plums or cherries, and little lambic/Brett character here. Hop flavor is basically non-existent, a touch of bitterness comes through in the finish.

M – Very high carbonation helps to offset the residual sweetness, actually lending some dryness on the palate and finish despite the sugar. A very light hop bitterness is present, but not very notable. Moderate-full body.

O – A complex, layered beer, a lot going on here, the residual sweetness needs to be balanced out a bit, but an excellent sipper.

Feb 10, 2015
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stompilator from Texas

4.78/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a wine glass.

A - Poured a deep copper, big off-white head.

S - Caramel, booze, and some unknown tartness. A foreshadowing of what was to come.

T - An immediate wave of delicious Belgian caramel malts hits hard, a multi-faceted web of caramelly flavors, followed by an increasingly intense yeast character, mainly of phenols and solventlike esters. Then, on the back, comes this oh-so subtle tartness, accompanied by a quiet sweetness from the kriek.

M - Nice and creamy, just as dry as you'd want from an ale like this.

O - Has a similar character to the classic Belgian quads, but with an added complexity from the kriek and incredibly powerful yeast character.

Sep 27, 2015
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cooncat from Ohio

4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decanted into my Stone crystal tulip, for maximum enjoyment.

On the pour, you get a nearly opaque garnet colored brew, with orange around the edges. The mountainous head is fig colored, and quite nice, though not long lived. Some lacing is left on the glass. A beautiful beer to look at.

The nose is very malty; sweet dark breads and fruit come to mind. Hidden behind this malt is a little hint of cherries. I noticed them, because it is mentioned on the bottle.

The taste is huge and awesome. Plenty of complex malt flavors come to mind. As mentioned, dark breads, dark fruits, and figs figure prominently. The dark cherries are more noticeable in the taste, along with a very hidden funk. The mouthfeel is medium to full, and the carbonation makes this Quad do a happy dance on your palate. Each sip makes you want to take another. The 9.8% abv is well hidden, but you can feel some warming in the stomach.

Another dangerously drinkable beer, which is highly recommended. Very complex, and you could easily spend an hour with the corked bomber and the time would fly by. By all means, give this one a try!

Na Zdravje!

Apr 26, 2009
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akttr from Michigan

3.5/5  rDev -16.3%

Nov 06, 2014
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Osiris9588 from Ohio

3.49/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured out of a 12oz brown bottle. Deep amber color, almost like strong iced tea with ruby red accents. Suspect some sediment to be floating around in there but can't see it, as it's nearly opaque. Two-finger off-white head, fluffy but not very stiff, dissipates quickly leaving considerble lacing around the underside of the tulip's rim.

The nose consists of sweet yeast and toasty malts, cherry, black berry, butterscotch, and toffee. The flavor profile follows the aroma's, along with some of a phenolic characteristic and a moderate flash of alcohol, as to be expected at 9.8%.

The mouth is light on the tip of the tongue, moving into a semi-dry stretch of malt and yeast, then into the sugary, yet some what harsh and medicinal finish. It has decent drinkability, and I don't mind a strong presence of alcohol, but I think they over did it just a bit on this one.

Solid, but not worthy of regular revisits.

Sep 14, 2006
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TheTrevor from New York

3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer poured a dark opaque brown with a dark tan single-finger head. The scent is mostly sweet malt with some caramel and fruity hints. The taste is sweet caramel malts that are cut fairly quickly by a some tart cherries that leads to some warming and a nice dry finish. The mouthfeel is nice and thick with a decent amount of carbonation and some pleasant alcohol warming. This is very tasty sipping beer, but it's not exactly something I would down a couple of bottles of back to back. This beer was even better than I expected, I'll definitely be picking up some more in the future.

Apr 06, 2008
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BamaBeerBuff from North Carolina

4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

07 vintage

A: It's a darker shade of crimson with a fluffy, frothy head that doesn't retain as well as some others in the style.

S: Very sweet and malty, but with some additional harshness from the alcohol. Dark fruits, some candy-like sweetness, but also a slight hint of musky, herbal, and "funky" aroma. I feel like the alcohol could be masked better, while still increasing some of the other aromatics.

T&M: Full and intense. Strong toasted, yet intensely sweet malt flavors with a tartness from the added lambic that provides a welcome addition to the complexity. Rather intense fruit flavors--some fig, plum, raisin, apple, all blended with a kind of earthy, nutty undertone. I really enjoy the flavor of this beer. The body is fuller than average, but still adequate. Fine carbonation creates a tingling, lovely effect.

Oct 07, 2008
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eewhiz from Georgia

4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at the Taco Mac at John's Creek. Always seen it at the liquor store, and decided to give it a try.

Poured a deep garnet color with some persistent lacing.

Wow, I was very impressed with the deep cherries and light malts molasses flavors. Very drinkable, I thought it was a cherry-porter, until I went to BA, and saw that it was a quadrupel with 9.8% ABV. Never would have guessed it, It felt more like a 6~7%, which goes more to the smoothness and drinkability.

I could have easily had another. I thought the ABV was well hidden, due to the richness of the other flavors.
Very nice, I was pleasantly surprised!

Jan 19, 2009
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NODAK from Tennessee

4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is thick and nice....your typical quad smells, such as molasses, burnt sugar, alcohol and caramel. There's also some cherries present as well, which isn't a surprise given what it says on the label.

Pours a brown color in the glass...somewhat thin head.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for what I'd expected. Taste is an interesting mix between malts and sweetness...there's the obligatory molasses and caramel...and there's also a tart cherry taste in the background. The flavors are in pretty good harmony with one another. The sweet malt is pulled back a bit compared to other beers like this as to let the fruit show. In the finish, there's a bit of residual tartness along with a bit of brown sugar...but really, it finishes pretty clean without any astringency, bitterness or roasted character. Much cleaner than most beers like this. The cherry flavor is great in my opinion. Not overdone or fake. Alcohol very, very well hidden.

Absolutely delicious. I highly approve of this beer. Whereas some beers of this style may try to blow people away with flavor, this one has a nice harmony between two flavors which go together quite well.

Oct 12, 2010
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leprakhan from California

3/5  rDev -28.2%

Dec 17, 2011
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roodie from Texas

3.25/5  rDev -22.2%

Jul 28, 2013
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Geoffy from Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Oct 07, 2012
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addiwilliams from Virginia

4/5  rDev -4.3%

Aug 10, 2013
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martyl1000 from Wisconsin

4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Cooper's Tavern, tail end of Madison Craft Beer Week. Was great to get to try all these Ommegang beers on tap.

I think I"m having to downgrade from previous rating (that one, also on tap, at Hobbit Cafe in Houston, rated 4.75). Not sure if it was the varied context this time that has me enjoying it less than before: this time, it was preceded by the sour "Aphrodite" that I liked so much, as well as "Seduction" (not as much) and "Art of Darkness". I think by the time the Three Philosophers came to the table, my taste buds were pretty much asleep.

May 14, 2012
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KingStephenR from New York

4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Aug 18, 2014
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4.75/5  rDev +13.6%

Apr 19, 2012
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stunna from Maine

4/5  rDev -4.3%

Oct 15, 2012
Three Philosophers from Brewery Ommegang
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 6800 ratings