Three Philosophers | Brewery Ommegang

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Three PhilosophersThree Philosophers
6,560 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:
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Ratings: 6,560 |  Reviews: 2,135
Photo of Wildman
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer (which finally showed up here after all the others did long ago)poured a dark, very red amber color and formed a small light tan bubby head that left circular lace as it subsided. A small amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, plum and spices. The flavor was of malt, raisins and spices. There are slight citrus notes, but nothing to really show the cherry lambic added. As with all other quads, like grand crus, it's hard to know if there is a set standard for the style. But this was still a good beer.

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Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL corked and caged bottle with a label reading "Brewed 2003" on the neck.

Soft aroma of cherries and rich malts. Small head of light brown dissipates quickly, leaving behind a ruby-chestnut brew with chunks of yeast and other sediment.

Mmmm...cherries blend softly into a deep, rich, potent malt body, with notes of caramel and strong alcoholic warmth. Big and bready, a little bit spicy around the edges with a touch of tobacco in the back, beautifully complex, and extremely good for sipping. Intense, though.

Rich and full bodied, with a big, fluffy mouthfeel. Very nice.

I want

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

Another great from Ommegang. Although, the Belgians from Cooperstown tend to fall all under the same taste category.

APPEARENCE: Dark and rich with that "trademark" light head found in Belgians.

SMELL: Like a good dark Belgian, falling into the same category as Unibroue beers.

TASTE: Dark flavor hits you first and stays with you the whole way. A hint of cherry creeps up the back of your throat as you swallow.


DRINKABILITY: Stop me at 3. Then I may vomit.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.67/5  rDev +12.5%
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!

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Three Philosophers was served from a 750ml corked and caged bottle, with a neck label indicating “Brewed in 2004”. In a Duvel tulip, the beer was a very dark brownish ruby red color, and was topped by a thick and fine light brown head. The nose was rich and enveloping, letting loose a barage of cherry-caramel-plantain maltiness with amazing underlying subtleties: tingly tartness, musty chocolate, and luscious esters. The taste presented a dark and bitter cherry-laced buttery maltiness with a warming alcoholic kick and accents of musty banana and freshly turned earth. This finished with a dark cherry skin-chocolate bitterness with lingering earthy cherry notes. The flavors of this beer reached their highest complexity and intensity near room temperature. The body was appropriately full for the flavors and character of the beer. The evident alcohol decreased the drinkability considerably, but then again this was meant as a sipper I would guess. Three Philosophers was a robust and tasty tummy warmer with very nice assortment of flavors. A succesful blend of the dark Belgian-style ale with a kriek.

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Photo of rdrummer
3.84/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Drinking Three Philosophers is a unique experience, and I'm still trying to take it all in. The bottle said that it was brewed in 2003, but that was the only date I found. It pours a bequtiful, dark brown with amber highlights. It has a large tannish head that dissipates quickly to a small head that holds for the duration. There is a great deal of lacing all around the glass.

The aroma is a little weird with a strong alcohol smell, which can be expected by the ABV, but there is also a kind of cough medicine type smell that might come from the cherry lambic that it is brewed with.

The taste is extremely complex. I needed to finish two full glasses before I could begin to sort out the tastes. There is a sweet maltiness that is the first thing I taste, followed by the fruitiness but the fruit taste is not a sweet one, but a more bitter taste. It is primarily the cherry from the lambic but there are some other flavors here. Some currant and raisin and maybe date happenings. There are also undertones of herbs and a slight hint of the hops. At the very end a well-disguised alcohol kick hits.

This is very smooth and creamy in the mouth. It also has some real bite to it, which I like. I have to say that it is good from first drop to last, but this is not a beer that I want to sit down to do a lot of drinking. It is a sipping beer that after two glasses left me satisfied.

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

Pours out brown, and sits a hazy, reddish-brown in the glass with a bubbly tan head.

Smells of apples, raisins, caramel, pears and has a wine-like quality to it. Just a dash of alcohol comes out in the back of the nose.

Tastes nice and sweet. Apples, caramel, apricots, pears and spice make up the majority of the flavors here. A nice, dry, bitter finish, again with just the slightest note of alcohol.

Smooth and silky in the mouth, and the carbonation just tickles the tounge. Awesome feel to this one. A 750 is easily and joyfully consumed.

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Photo of Hefe
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted from 750ml bottle stating brewed in 2004.

Appearance: Dark toffee colour with glints of ruby and mahogony. Bubbles that rise from murky depths. Fluffy white head that never really goes away, just covers and slides around the top of the brew.

Smell: Beautiful complex aromas, Dried cherries, malt, spice show up first along with a whiff of alcohol. Then come notes of banana, plum, vanilla, all with an underriding earthiness.

Taste: Cherry and mocha, brown sugar, oak, yeast, caramel. nicely dry on the finish.

Mouthfeel: A little aggressive on the carbonation, but otherwise creamy and full.

Drinkability: Given the 9.8% abv, it sneaks up on you only after you've had several snifters, by then it's far too late. Just call me a happy guy.

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Photo of Truh
3.86/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Kumar pawned this one off on me, saying he wasn’t drinking and “Fruity fruit drinks!”

Served from a 750 ml corked, bottle-conditioned behemoth on 3/23/2004. Poured with an initial thick, creamy head into snifter, which settled to a thin layer with a golden tinge after resting. Copper-red hue with visible carbonation present. Strong cherry up-front bouquet is noticeable from a foot away, and upon closer inspection a malt character is present, but cloaked. Not overpowering aromatics. Cherry, go figure, comes through at initial taste, followed by a slight astringency. Like the bouquet, other flavors eventually make their way through the heavy Lindemans, but not enough to point out. Alcohol not overdone. Quite drinkable, though krieks are not high on my list. Still, I won’t refuse to drink them like Kumar. I’m just glad Jim wasn’t around when Kumar was offering it up, because he loves this kind of stuff.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.11/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance - clear ruby color. Thin tan head has large watery bubbles and reduces to a covering before too long, but it's a rather attractive brew. (1/19/09 - a rather hazy ruby this time, from a well-rested bottle, so quite a range is possible)

Aroma - sweet, dark fruit (dark red cherries obviously, like Bing cherries), deeply rich smelling with an easily detectable alcohol smell. Not very intense, but foreboding, maybe.

Taste - tart cherry, a little nuttiness picked up on top of some thick maltiness. And did I mention some alcohol? Crikey, you could serve this in a shot glass. Very strong in that department. Lots of bubbles help usher in some lambic funkiness, a bit subdued and a good idea for this beer. Ends rather sour, almost acrid, like Cherry Vicks 44D, but not entirely unpleasant. Overall, an interesting but very boozy tasting beer. Some elements kick up the score but a few other elements knock it back down IMO.

Mouthfeel - very alive with bubbles, they fill the mouth with foam at times if you take a good swig. Good body and a very warm residue.

Drinkability - a decent beer but not really repeatable. A beer tasting kind of thing or an alternative way to wind down a busy day instead of wine.

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

Dark chesnut or murkey muddy water brown ? Either way, deep full brown color with burgundy edges. Light tan full creamy head. Full gamut of pleasing aromas. Plums, figs, raisans, and subtleness of cherries, which I thought would be right up front. Taste is an awesome blend of the traditional belgian brown ale flavors. Yeasty, full flavored sweetness. Sticky, carmel, brown sugar, hints of chocolate in the back, and nice tart cherry lambic undertone. A beer lover's fantasy league in one glass. Unbelievable complexity, I swear I taste hints of chocolate in the back.
Light, airy, nearly bubbly body. Creamy feel. Much less heavy than I anticipated, but very very pleasant. Supersmooth and very drinkable, paired this with roasted pork loin, sweet peas, carmelized onions with grilled mushrooms and chocolate truffle dessert. A typical Monday night at the Wayne household. :)

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Photo of BadBadger
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This was something else. Pours a very dark color with a moderate head which left some nice lacing. The taste was something else in this quadruple: at some points the cherry lambic seemed excessive, at other moments it was dead on. This would be something to open and share with a friend as an after dinner drink. It is not something I would make a habit of but it is definitely worth trying.

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

A deep ruby pour of this quadruple - this is a fun one to examine in bright light. The color really glows. There is a small ring of head with minimal lacing.

Smell has some cherry notes, but was mostly very clean in the nose. Strange, me thinks, since part of the drink is a lambic.

The taste is surprising - in good way. The lambic flavor is very hidden, subdued under the powerful flavor of the ale. There is a rich, full mouth that seems to gently raise off the tongue.

A fun beer - but hard to find the occasion to repeat it.

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

12oz bottle poured into a snifter-style glass.

A deep, deep red beer with an ample tan head. Clove, coriander and cherries dominate the nose. Three Philosophers tastes spicy, oakey, sour, with a dry finish and a hint of sour cherries through and through. Highly carbonated and light on the palate, with the bubbles bringing the flavors up to my nose. An amazing blend of flavors - extremely complex, especially as it warms. Very drinkable for the high ABV. This beer would undoubtedly age well, but is amazing fresh.

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Photo of Ieatlambfries
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served close to room temp in a chalice, poured from a 750 ml. The appearance was excellent, dark ruddy brownish red. More brown than red really, but it certainly had a reddish hue that pointed to the lambic blended in. Medium tannish head which left nice rings of lace after each sip. Also a nice healthy dose of yeast coating the bottom of the bottle. The smell was exceptional. The usual banana like Belgian yeast fragrance but accompanied by the cherry scents of the lambic. The smell reminded me almost of the cherry soaked cigars that my uncles and cousins used to make when I was a kid. Also some solvent odors that hint of the 9.8 abv. The taste was excellent as well. Sweet, banana like, and earthy hints of cherry. Very complex. I did not experience the medicinal taste that others have spoken of. In fact the warmer it got the less solvent like it became. As it warmed the cherry flavors became more apparent almost like cherry soaked cedar wood. The mouthfeel was rich and thick. Very filling. Drinkability was good, I drank the whole 750 over the course of a few hours. All and all an excellent experience and one I will try again. I'd like to cellar one of these.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep ruby-red in color. Dark...with very thick and long-lasting off-white head. Very nice lacing of the glass. Aromas are bursting with cherries soaked in yeasties. Flavor is cherries doused with bittersweet chocolate. Some licorice at the very end? Finishes with the chocolate-cherry aftertaste. Full and creamy mouthfeel. Great flavor and finish. Nothing too dominant and very well-balanced. One that, while I wouldn't drink it all the time, I would certainly not pass up.

Thanks to AKSmokedPorter for this one.

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Photo of Brent
3.16/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Corked magnum bottle that opened with a satifying "pop" and a waft of condensation. Poured a deep burgundy into the chalace with a tight, fizzy head that quickly settled. The mouthfeel, particulary on the first few sips, was rather odd - a foamy feeling that coated the tongue, much like a nitro stout does. Highly carbonated. Flavor was earthy, with a prominent bitter cherry flavor, like cherry pits. I don't think I've ever said this about a beer before, but this could have benefited from just a touch of sweetness to better develop the cherry flavor. As it was, the bitterness was rather harsh and tended to overwash what probably would have otherwise been some nice Belgian malt and yeast flavors that tried to distinguish themselves, but couldn't quite make it.

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Photo of Shaw
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 750 mL bottle of the 2003 vintage.

This ale pours a cloudy brown with a brown head. I must not have poured vigorously enough, because there was not much of a head. I'll see if more forms when I pour another glass from the bottle.

It smells malty with a little sweetness and just a bit of a musty aroma.

I can sure taste the cherry lambic. It is quite prominent. The tartness of lambics is not that noticeable, but I'm sure it's counteracting the malt sweetness. An earthy, musty flavor is also very powerful. This is quite the earthy beer. After a few sips I find that the cherry flavor vanishes. I don't detect any alcohol flavors, which is notable once you realize this beer is 9 percent ABV,

Its mouthfeel is good. It's got quite a body, considering the alcohol content.

Overall this is a good beer, especially if you like earthy flavors.

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Photo of AbePhroman
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought a bottle for $4.50. I love Ommegang; quality Belgian styles brewed in the USA. The only quad I had ever had was Weyerbacher so I wasn't too familiar with the style. Poured a reddish-amber color and left a head that lingered till I finished the glass. Strong fruitiness abundant in the aroma. And it tastes oh so sweet. Not as strong as other quads but 9.8% nontheless. But you BAs are responsible fellows HAHA!

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Photo of PatandDavid
2.59/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Sorry to be a sore thumb, but I didn't think this beer was that tasty at all. I used a nice glass, like the one on the bottle and filled it half with beer, dark cherry and opaque in color. The other half was full of thick tan frothy head. The head did die down rather quickly. I have this around for about an hour now, and it really hasn't improved that much. The smell is of sweet cherry cough syrup or drops (remember Ludens?). What strikes me with the taste is that the cherry syrup is on one side of the room, and the ale is on the other. I am actually shocked that the flavors are not that well blended. It's almost as if someone took one beer and poured it into another. The flavors do seem to blend more the longer it warms, but the aftertaste is bitter, and not bitter in a pleasant hoppy way (medicine theme comes to mind again). I still have one bottle of this, anyone want it?

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Photo of clvand0
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a red color with a moderate head and left nice lacing on the glass. The aroma was very busy and pleasing. Smelled of sweetness/sugar, cherries, yeast, and some other fruits. The taste is great. Tastes of cherries, other fruits, sweetness (but not too sweet), caramel, and malts. Very well made beer.

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Photo of fdrich29
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bomber poured a deep blood red in my glass with a thick lingering head. Sweet smell of cherries filled my nose as I brought the glass up to my lips. The sweet fruity taste is earned after your mouth deals with the carbination and strong taste of alcohol. Once the carbination and alcohol feel dissapated I greatly enjoyed each sip of this quad. I'd love this one with a big slice of New York cheesecake, that's some good living. This one is definitely enjoyed in small doses however.

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Photo of mickeymac
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

3P finally arrived in southern California after much anticipation. It pours a glowing red with a foamy head that lingers, leaving little mounds of bubbles all over the top of the beer. The cherry smell is very subtle at the start but becomes more pronounced after sitting a while. It tastes nice but never seems to go quite where it seems it should. The cherry is just hiding in the background and never makes a full appearance. It's tantalizing in its tartness but just remains tantalizing. All in all, it's an interesting and enjoyable beer; it's just a bit disappointing after the wait.

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

Dark amber colour. A bit of bready malt, load of caramel and some cherries in aroma. Blending is made in heaven! Creamy, fruity and malty body. Surprisingly powerful carbonation. Load of chocolate flavors. Dry finish. Actually this very vinous beer. People who likes Australian plummy Shiraz wll like this beer. Great brewery, awesome beer!

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Photo of ark57
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is another great beer from a great brewery. It is wonderful now and I image it will only get better with age. It is a clear dark-ruby color. The aroma is fruity and there is some trace of the alcohol. It is fairly complex with tastes of cherry, some caramel, and choclate. It is very malty, but is spicy enough to ropund it out. Definitely a sipper.

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Three Philosophers from Brewery Ommegang
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 6,560 ratings