Three Philosophers | Brewery Ommegang

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Three PhilosophersThree Philosophers
6,559 Ratings
Three PhilosophersThree Philosophers

Brewed by:
Brewery Ommegang
New York, United States

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-23-2002

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,559 |  Reviews: 2,135
Photo of crookedhalo
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003. Pours a turbid chestnut color with some red highlights from the kriek infusion. Even the head is beige with a little bit of pink hue to it. Aromas of sweet malt, sun-dried cherry, and fusel alcohols. A year's aging fares this beer nicely. A little sweet; and too much cherry for my liking, but a solid quad nonetheless. Nicely carbonated, giving a creamy mouthfeel. A slight tartness in the finish keeps it drinkable, otherwise it might just be too sweet. The last glass poured seemed to have a bit more esteriness to it.

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Photo of alexgash
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Popped off the cap and immediately smelled that Ommegang smell. Pours a dark, russet brown. Light doesn't penetrate. Head is big and creamy and tan with a hint of red. Smellwise...I'm picking up dark cherries, oak, leather, alcohol, and yeast. Not overly aromatic, but nice and vinous. Dark, rummy fruits kick off the palate. Cherries, raisins, maybe plums in there. Slightly sweet, but slightly tart. Alcohol hits mid-palate, along with some leather, and a little oak. Bitterness backs its way in, but its a very herbal, tangy, and almost medicinal bitterness. Yeast is notieceable throughout. The finish has a tart apple taste to it. Warming. Full-bodied, but with a rather fluffy mouthfeel. Carbonation is a little on the "too much" side. Overall, a decent beer, but not my favorite Ommegang product.

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Photo of Winter
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 bottling.

Pours a cloudy dark pomegranate and brown. Thin brown head. Micro-bubbles cling to the side of my goblet and rise up the side. Aroma consists of sour cherries, malt, alcohol, fermented grapes, caramel and a hint of chocolate. Mouthfeel has a nice full body to it. The taste is very complex. Starts of very malty and rich. The cherry lambic that was added is blended very nice. I was expecting more of a cherry flavor and this does not over-power at all. They're married very nicely. Some caramel and oak appear midway. Alcohol is apparent in the finish.

This is definitely one to sip and savor. The taste itself was okay, but something was lacking to really set it apart. Not sure if this is better by itself or paired with food. I think the correct food match-up would bring out even more of the flavor nuances that this beer might have. I enjoyed it, yet I wasn't "blown-away" either.

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Photo of IceAce
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Caged and corked 750 ml bottle of the 2004 edition. Stopper removal provided much fanfare. Pours with enthusiastic carbonation leaving a mahogany / red body and 2+ fingers of rocky tan dense foam

Aroma: Highly acidic, alcoholic, and fruity nose. Notes of cherry, raisin, and spices detected

Taste: Intense spiciness grips the tongue while the cheeks are scrubbed by ample (almost prickly) CO². Big malt dominates the mid-taste while the finish lingers with cherries and spices

Mouthfeel: This is one huge beer with a mouthfeel to match. Huge malt coats the mouth while abundant CO² lends balance and smoothness. There is so much going on that each sip is an adventure

Drinkability: Packing a big punch means consumption in quantity is limited...but what a wonderful adventure!

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Photo of ngandhi
3.22/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Vintage 2003

Heady smells of kirsch and cherries stewed beneath a layer of dead leaves. Alcohol. Chocolate covered cherries and wheaty yeast on the palate; maybe a touch of iron. Thin raspberries; the lambic component is reminiscent of Rose de Gambrinus in that respect. Old dryer lint.

The integration of kriek and quad is strange to say the least and one does not accentuate the other. Though challenging, this beer still needs some time to calm down. The parts might ultimately each be greater than the whole.

Relax, relax.

P.S. I paired this with plain bittersweet chocolate wedges and it turned into ten times the beer it was on its own. The cocoa balances the quadruple part of the beer, the sugar and fat cancels out the alcohol, and the soft, luscious kriek element shines on through as well as an interesting Westy-inspired grape bubblegum finish. As a pairing, the Three Philosophers would merit at least a 4-point score, but it is indeed weak on its own.

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Photo of mntlover
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice cloudy dark brown with big fluffy tan head lots of good lacing , a great looking beer. Aroma is little subdued malt with dark fruits raisins plums some black cherries with spice present. Taste is nice malt with fruity flavors raisins plums ect very solid tasting beer. Finishes with light spice and hops present sweet and lightly bitter plus a little sour. Mouthfeel is very solid a big beer their is know doubt. Drinkability is good a nice little quadrupel to say the least. Again thanks goes to merlin48 for the sample and the good times had tasting.

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Photo of dgallina
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brown with bronze highlights. Moderate head which leaves a good film of lace on top and lots of lacing on the sides of the glass. Nose is lightly toasted malts with strong candied fruits, subdued sour cherries, and alcohol spice. The taste starts with light toasted malts, develops slight lambic and cherry sourness, turns into sweet candied fruits and alcohol spice, and finishes with nice drying hops and very long-lasting sour kriek finish. Nice medium body with good creamy feel and carbonation. Very tasty and relatively easy to drink. Superbly complex and compelling.

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Photo of markman
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brewery Ommegang Three Philosophers (750ml, 2004):

A subtle hoppy grainy slightly sweet aroma precedes a big tan head that just sustains on a deep garnet body…beautiful. Wow, chocolate, rich malt, and black cherry fill the palate…and no hiding the 9.8% ABV. There is a distinctive “Ommegang taste” to this that I can’t put my finger on…some kind of a spicy yeasty quality that is unique to Ommegang. Textbook lacing…very nice. Lip-smacking good and I suspect my cellar will always have two or three of these at the ready. And drop dead drinkability for such a big beer. I can only imagine what a few years of sleep might do.


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Photo of bultrey
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is one hell of a beer... it pours a murky brown with a nice, foamy head that sticks around for the long haul. When I smell this beer, it almost seems like it's gone a good way, because there is alot of sour aroma, like sour cherries and vinegar, mingling with the faint sweetness of the malt.
The taste, however is a different story. This is an incredibly complex beer. There is such a great balance struck here between the kriek and the quadruple... The overwhelming taste, to me, is of chocolate-covered cherries, but without any of the cloying sweetness. But then there is a lip-smacking tanginess and relatively dry finish, which does it's best to push aside the malt monster. But then the malt comes back, and some of the cherry, and the two have a little skirmish in your mouth for a while. There is also a bit of that funky barnyard characteristic.
And then the beer nears room temperature, and you ain't seen nothing yet.
Oh yeah, be forewarned... there are plenty of floaty yeasties in this puppy, so watch that last pour...
What a versatile beer. Slightly chilled, I love it with Old Amsterdam aged gouda cheese. When it warms up, it can stand up to some nice dark chocolate, or I suspect, even a nice cigar.

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Photo of vitesse
2.88/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

poured from 750 mL brown bottle.
label says bottled in 2003, so this beer is around a year to a year-and-a-half old.

pours a nice reddish/brown color with a HUGE head. lots of carbonation in this one. smells of sugar, cherries and spicey booze.
the beer was way way harsh on the palate. very astringent and medicinal taste hits you right off the bat. you can taste a slight cherry taste (from the lindemans kriek blended in) as well as regular ommegang ale, which is nice, but the alcohol isn't hidden at all and the significant malt and yeast can't cover up the boozey flavors.
the label says it's ready for immediate consumption without aging, but i don't agree. this one definitely wasn't ready for drinking. i was disappointed, especially considering how much i love ommegang, hennepin and rare vos.

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Photo of claytri
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It poured a cloudy amber that produced a tan lace. The aroma was of sour malt and alcohol with a little tamin in the tail end. The taste was mainly of malt with an undercurrent of strong fruit it finished with a strong alcohol bite. The feel was exceptionally creamy. a very drinkible beer.

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Photo of NEhophead
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle.

A pillowy and creamy off white head that settles after a few moments leading to some very thin lacing that holds throughout the glass. A burgundy, light brown in color with a reddish tint.

This quadruple has a lot going on in terms of both aroma and flavor. Dark chocolate and toffee tones along with some fruit: cherry, black raspberry, apple, and even some orange aromas.

I've had this ale a handful of times now and I was very surprised with how chocolatey and sweet this one was. A chewy maltiness in addition to a truffle-like flavor begins the sip. This is joined by a mild tartness filled with apple, orange, and cherry flavors. Virtually no bitterness, and a dark chocolate aftertaste.

A very mellow version, that encompasses the palate and tastebuds without being obtrusive. Very impressive given the array of flavors.

At 9.8% abv, and all that is going on in terms of flavors, this quadruple is like drinking a four course meal. Not too heavy, but it would be tough to have more than a few glasses. Nonetheless, a gem and something to seek out.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Label : Top fermented. Bottle Conditioned. Ale with Cherry Lambic added. Caged & corked 750 mL. Wrestled the cork out with my shirt to cushion the blow. Nice labeling.

Dark hazy brown yet slightly pellucid with glints of light getting thru under an impressive huge head that managed to rise a ½” in a wide mouthed Weyerbacher goblet, that settles to a wafer thin antique white head tight head.

Deep malts and candied fruit esters.

First Swigs: Heavy grainy malt with a dry finish. Some dark fruit notes of black cherries and over ripe bananas. Cherries peaked out a tiny bit in the end of the pour.A bit of dark bread doughy almost pumpernickel. As this warms, the awl-kee-hawl heat is detectable in the finish.

Steady easy soft foamy cushiony feel. This is a conundrum of a beer, as the enjoyable offering is compromised by the high ABV and uniqueness. A bit filling to be considered drinkable, but a “must try” for beer lovers.

Last Swigs: Grainy almost oatmeal cereal malts with a bone dry, sugary sweet finish. Missed the cherries until warmed. Slightly one dimensional light flavored Quad. Expected more. Maybe OMMEGANG is trying too hard on this one. I prefer Weyerbacher’s Quad to this one any day. We’ll see if this 2004 will improve with age. The last time I had this was at the Flying Pig in Devon and my memory was more favorable of it. Quad is a rare style that few breweries have the “scrum” to attempt. OMMEGANG has “scrum.” Now to find out what Three Philosophers was this named after?

Beer is good. Happy Quad beering.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at 2004 Extreme Beer Fest but the day was a blur so this is a much better chance to review the beer.Very nice chestnut color. Excellent head-retains it all the way down too which is nice. Aroma of malt,yeast. Slight sourness to it. doesnt really say fruit or cherries-byproduct of the yeast? Somewhat vinuous and oakey. Malty and wine like flavors upfront. Slight tartness-as it warms this increases. A great mix of flavors-raisens,currants,cherries-hints of vanilla and oak. Nice full body. 9.8% ????-no way!!! You could certainly never tell here. Quite an amazing beer. One bottle is a meal in itself. Go for it.

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Photo of rkhaze
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a murky dark amber/red color with a creamy tan head.
Smells of malt, caramel, chocolate and tart red fruit.
Wow! Great complex flavor. Sweet earthy malt, brown sugar, caramel, chocolate covered cherries and an earthy tart yeast flavor.
Although the alcohol was present it was integrated very well. A lot more flavor than the smell indicated.
Light bodied with a thin, yet full mouthfeel. Tangy carbonation.
For such a light feeling beer, this sure came across as being quite rich. Good melding of the Quadruple/lambic styles. I was still thinking about the deep flavors of this one the next day! Excellent.

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Photo of jvajda
3.08/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Deep brown color with hints of red and a thick, small head.
Smell: Bitterness and tartness, but fresh.
Taste: Pretty much what I expected. A quad with a little bit of cherry in it. It's very well balanced in terms of hops/malt. Not as complex and hearty as I'd prefer in a quad. The cherry flavor gets old pretty quick.
Mouthfeel: Lighter than most quads.
Drinkability: I was done with this after one glass. Unfortunately I had a lot more I needed to drink. Huh.
Notes: 2003 Edition.

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Photo of scottum
3.51/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a deep dark dark amber with an almost yellow tan head. The fruity does come through which is very nice as it mellows what I imagine would have been a much harsher brew without the blended Lindemans Kriek. This is a huge beer though. Flavors are through the roof but for me the hole it makes lets in the rain. I do think this beer will be excellent with some cellar time under its belt. I'm glad to see American brewers experimenting like this.

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Photo of oracle
3.56/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle in a tulip chalice.

I made a huge mistake with this beer. The label clearly says to drink slightly chilled or at room temperature. I started drinking it after it had been sitting on the counter on 5 minutes after being the in the fridge. That was far too soon. It REALLY needed to warm up some more. Once it warmed up, the appearance, smell and taste all improved dramatically (like a couple levels of magnitue). For the rest of the review, I will examine the beer as it presented itself at the correct temperature, not how it first appeared.

Beer poured a cloudy deep red/amber. with generous off white head that didn't stick around long but left moderate lacing. Rather pretty when in a chalice.

Smell was very complex. The adverstised cherry was there, but it played a minor role. I smelled mostly sweet malts and alchohol, vaguely reminiscent of an english mild.

Tasted robust and straightforward. No much in the way of sublety. Strong malt, mild cherry, oak. A little tart, but not bitter. very pleasant.
Faint hints of chocolate, but very understated.
Once it warmed up, I liked this beer a lot.

Mouthfeel was interesting. When cold, this beer exhibited FAR too much carbonation. As it warmed, it got much better. It lingered a shade too long.

I still haven't had too many belgian style beers, so maybe I'm just not used to them yet. Not sure I want to drink one everyday, but I'm very glad I tried it.


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Photo of gbontrag
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I tried this with my wife tonight. She just fell asleep in my son's bed while putting him away for the night. She said she loved it, and judging by the snores I think it loved her back.

The color of an old walnut table; not lustrous, but rich mahogany tones. A tan froth quickly dissipated to a milky way in the middle of a foam ringed glass; a faint sizzle of carbonation just swirling there like a reflection of the big bang in my chalice.

A fruit wine nose: fruit blossoms in the distance, dried fruit compote dancing on the vapors of alcohol.

Cherry chocolate truffle with brandy. Quite a lot of fizz, and oak, cabernet, roasted coconut, upside-down pineapple cake with scorched cherries... Mama and papa like this, and mama and papa could drink lots of this in front of the fire place.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the highlights of what I managed to find on my trip to Vegas, I've been itching to try this stuff. Came in a large 750 ml brown bottle, caged and corked, 2004 edition. Safety comes first with Ommegang, as on the back label they recommend pointing the cork away from any friends while opening. Poured into my Leffe chalice, it's a deep murky/cloudy mahogany body, capped with a massive fluffy beige head with intense retention. Serious lacing as well. The nose is heavenly, sweet toffee malt, rum raisins and figs, dark grape and cherry, bubblegum and cotton candy. Underlying vinuous alcohol throughout on the flavour, it starts out with purple grapes and cherry skins, along with alcohol soaked dark dried fruits like raisin, dates, figs and currents, a sweeter rummy toffee towards the middle with notes of earth and wood, a dry twig-like roasted espresso finish, with light sour cherry tones. I'm practically chewing on this flavour on the aftertaste, so much to register. The mouthfeel is creamy, velvety and somewhat effervescent, not as thick and chewy as the flavour would have one expect at first. My first foray into the quadrupel style, an interesting and successful blend, I shall willingly grab more when the opportunity arises (damn suitcase space and customs duty!). Not a session beer or an everyday drinker, but I would love the opportunity to break this out for special occassions and special people on demand.

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Photo of SeanChouffe
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 bottling.
A mahogany/red color, hazy, and effervescent with orange highlights. The head is a papyrus color with medium retention. Aroma is of dark fruits, esters, alcohol and cherries. Flavor is of caramel, toffee, with some tartness and a mild hop at the finish. The palate is medium bodied and effervescent, with a sweet start tart middle and a metallic finish.

IMHO: an interesting interpretation of a quad and I like the addition of a the lambic, but knock my socks off it did not.

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Photo of Ellbert
3.24/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Poured a very dark cherry color with a beautiful sticky head that did not want to leave.

Smell: Very malty aroma, molasses, some alcohol, and some cherries.

Taste: Very sweet. Molasses was all over the flavor. Slight fruity sweetness, but not necessarily cherries. There was a strong spiciness mostly from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: It seemed a little over carbonated for me.

Fairly drinkable but not exactly what I am looking for.

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Photo of nixhecks
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2003 bottle. Poured a dark mahogany color with a two-finger sized, off-white head. Head had excellent retention. Aroma had a slight red wine oakiness with cherries and malts and a alcohol presence. Cherry lambic flavors are rather upfront, leaving the sweet malts to try their best to balance it all out. Alcohol was not obtrusive and overall this blend of lambic and ale made for a warming and unique drinking experience. Mouthfeel was smooth and medium to heavy bodied with medium carbonation. This would probably be best to sip after a meal.

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

I love this beer! Distinctive, fruity taste, get's better with every sip. I noticed the cherry taste, but not much. The dark fruit notes are prevalent. Great balance, sweet (but not overly so). ABV not noticed in the taste at all. Doesn't taste "just like" anything. Smooth, creamy and satisfying. I will purchase this beer every time I get the chance. This was the 12oz. version, I will have to try the 750. Great brewery, great beer.

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Photo of Boto
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle (2003 vintage): The beer pours a dark ruby tinged brown color. There was quite a bit of an off-white, but it subsided quickly. Big nose full of different fruits, with mainly cherries coming through. Also a yeasty breadiness to the nose. Some sweet caramel in there also. The initial taste is tart cherries, with a hint of sweetness also. There is a somewhat chocolate aftertaste that finishes a touch dry. Some spiciness comes through also. Definitely full bodied. A very good beer!

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Three Philosophers from Brewery Ommegang
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 6,559 ratings