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Devil's Backbone | Real Ale Brewing Company

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Devil's BackboneDevil's Backbone
Very Good
811 Ratings
Devil's BackboneDevil's Backbone

Brewed by:
Real Ale Brewing Company
Texas, United States

Style: Tripel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Pegasus on 05-18-2005

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 811 |  Reviews: 182
Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.79/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

i wouldnt call this dumbed down or anything, i mean, its quite a well made take on the style, i just found it to be a little cautious with some of the flavors and textures here. rather true to style though, and nicely done overall. its a little murky, but fairly bright for what it is, good white head on it, but it settles back after a few minutes. smells like heavy wheat malt and a tamer belgian yeast strain. i dont get any of that extra sugar spike, and i dont really get the flowery and spicy side of the yeast. its there a little in the nose with some soft white pepper, but in the flavor its more of that bubblegum fruity sort of vibe, tasty but not at all unique. the malt is tasty and fresh, and it is definitely wheat driven. lighter body and alcohol and more expressive carbonation make this an easier drinking take on the tripel, although it is absolutely still quite substantial. a little more sweetness than i like on the back end, even for the style. well made but quite subtle in a lot of respects. enjoyable with a whole range of foods, but i had it with the unlikely combination of a meatball and red sauce, which sounds odd but tastes really nice. quality beer no doubt.

 1,190 characters

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of kojevergas
2.56/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clearly identifies as a tripel on the label, so I'm reviewing as such. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with fun label art and a branded silver pry-off pressure cap acquired as part of a mixed six-pack at Whole Foods HQ here in Austin and served into an Independence Brewing pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I've yet to be impressed by the brewery, but this seems to be one of their less mainstream offerings so I'm optimistic.

Brewed with Czech Saaz hops, candi sugar, and Belgian yeast. Best before: 01/26/14.

Served cold - straight from me fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as I pour.

Pours a one finger wide head of grey-white colour. Somewhat thin. Not much creaminess or frothiness. No real lacing as the head recedes. Head retention is above average - about 3 minutes.

Body colour is a clear yellow-copper of average vibrance. Good clarity. Translucent. No yeast particles are visible.

Sm: Honey, nectary hop character, Belgian pale malts, Belgian candi sugar, grains & cereals, floral hop character, crystal malts, Saaz, banana fruit esters, and an apple cider touch. The herbal Saaz bitterness clashes with the malty sweetness. I'm not getting much in terms of yeast. There does seem to be an alcohol presence here, albeit a slight one. Not a great aroma for a tripel, but I'm optimistic. An inoffensive aroma of average to mild strength.

T: Malty sweetness in the first act and beginning of the first half; it clashes with the herbal Saaz and crystal malts in the late second half. Bursts of banana fruit esters up front alongside some clove. Candi sugar throughout doesn't fully conceal the hop bitterness - which shouldn't even be present to begin with; this is definitely overhopped. I do get some spiciness from the yeast; it's very cleanly fermented, and the yeast is probably the best aspect of the beer. Pilsner malts and a good deal of Belgian pale/blonde malts fill out the body. Honey. I do find some alcohol presence, unfortunately. A bit cidery, with touches of pear and apple.

Overall, the build is mediocre for a tripel, and the balance is problematic. Not gestalt. Qutie boring for a tripel. A bit bland as well. Depth of flavour is rather shallow for the style. Average flavour duration and intensity.

There are no off-flavours, unless you count the presence of alcohol - which isn't egregious.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Unrefreshing. Lacks a full firm body. Too thick at some points and too thin at others. Weak, with "empty" points throughout the flavour profile. Overcarbonated. Inappropriate for the style. It doesn't suit the flavour profile all that well. Subpar execution.

Dr: Real Ale disappoints again, this time with a tripel. I wouldn't buy it again, and Real Ale's other beers are racing to the bottom of my "to-try" list. I definitely wouldn't want another one, and it's not the most drinkable beer either, what with its obvious alcohol presence. If you want a good tripel, look elsewhere. This one doesn't deliver.

Low C-

 3,168 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of emerge077
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Chris for this one!
Bottle dated "best by 12.14.12".

Hazy glowing saturated orange, thin cap of creamy finely-textured foam. A thin ring around the edge, otherwise not much retention. Ever present rising trails of carbonation.

Pepper, dried apricot, phenolic Belgian yeast.

Smooth and creamy, somewhat bitter and peppery. Lingering dry aftertaste. Vague fruitiness thats hard to pin down, though orange and apricot come to mind. PLenty yeasty and phenolic in the taste, following the aroma. Seems pretty solid, a textbook tripel.

 542 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a fairly hazy honey color with a fluffy head that drizzles lace down the side of the tulip

Smell: Light fruit (pear and banana) drizzled with honey, candi sugar and grassy character

Taste: Pean and banana fruit, up front, with a candi sugar sweetness that is joined by grassy hops by mid-palate; after the swallow, the peppery hop element grows to dominate the flavor profile, though the sweeter elements linger underneath; the fusel alcohol adds a bit of a harsh character to the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderately high carbonation; warmth in the gullet from the alcohol

Drinkability: While not in the top echelon of the style, this is a surprisingly good example of a tripel brewed by a non-Belgian specialist craft brewery

Thanks, FreeVerse, for the opportunity

 811 characters

Photo of LXIXME
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A clear golden colored beer beneath a small white head.

Cloves, sour grains, citrus, light spices and probably some other things coming through in a well balanced complex aroma.

Citrus and cloves seems to outweigh light hops, and light grains taste. Kind of different and also kind of good, although I don't know if I could drink a bunch of these, probably get tired of the clove to spice taste pretty quick.

A light dry aftertaste with some lingering spices attached.

This medium bodied beer seems to be a downplayed fall/winter
spiced seasonal and having said that I think I like this better.

 598 characters

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap during the recent craft brewers conference in Austin at a party thrown by the guys from Real Ale. Nice guys, but they didn't tell me how strong this was!

It was a hazy orange-copper beneath a full head of off-white froth. The head held well, and it left beautiful creamy walls of lace in its wake. The nose was honeyish and spicy with a bit of alcohol and some phenols that left it perfumey. The mouthfeel was bristling with tiny-bubbled effervescence, and it was medium in body. The flavor followed the lead of the aroma, but added in an orange/citrus side that was unexpeceted. The rye was clear, and it's peppery edge cut through nicely. The bitterness was moderate, as it should have been, with the spiciness of the rye and alcohol keeping it dry. It finished honeyish and dry, with lingering notes of black pepper and phenolics. It's a sipper for sure, and a pint of it during a party was not the way to really enjoy this beer. I'd much rather have had it in a quiet setting as a sipping beer. Still, I enjoyed it nonetheless, but I went back for a pale ale instead. Interesting and enjoyable.

 1,119 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a golden color with a nice white head and a bit of lacing as it goes down. The nose brings some slight spice and Belgian yeast as well as a bit of citrus and some light fruits. Taste is a bit of pale spice and light fruit. A good dose of alcohol in there as well. Feel is slightly spicy and boozy with a good body. Drinks fairly well and is better than the blonde I had from them, but perhaps needs a bit of time to mellow.

 451 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of mactrail
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Golden and sudsy in the glass. A very attractive beer. Pleasantly carbonated and on the creamy side. A very nice nose of yeast and overripe pineapple.

The Belgian flavors are nicely integrated. This is both mellow and malty, and sharp and spicy. The yeasty flavors dry out toward the finish, though the bitterness is not as strong as many others brewed with Belgian yeast. A touch of green apple skins. On the whole it makes for a very drinkable beer. It could use just a little more edge, either with tart or bitter flavors.

Thoroughly pleasant brew that may not be a world class Tripel, but it does credit to the style. From the 12 oz bottle bought at Pinkie's in San Angelo, Texas.

 686 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of nathanmiller
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%

Photo of drewone
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

Photo of mdfb79
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 6/5/10 notes. Had at SAVOR in DC.

a - Pours a nice golden color with one inch of white head.

s - Smells of yeast, spices, foral hops, banana, and cloves.

t - Taste is again spice and yeast, and faded hops. Also a little bit of booze comes out in the taste.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

d - A decent tripel. I thought it smelled very good but wasn't as big a fan of the taste. Would give another shot.

 418 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.21/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a nice light golden amber with a small head of white on top. A decent amount of side glass lace and a touch of carbonation floating up toward the top.

The smell was a nice smattering of earthy fields of yeast and a touch of light floral hops. Nice cereal grains in the back as well. The flavor was decent, a little soft for a triple though. A ton of hops for the style with a light earthy feel to it. The overall feel of it was nice thlugh with more then adequate carbonation and a tight little profile. For 9% it was extremely drinkable and really the alcohol was completly undetectable.

Overall it was not bad, alothough I have had much better.

 648 characters

Photo of womencantsail
3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The beer pours a cloudy, pale golden color with a very small white head.

S: Starts off somewhat sweet and malty, but quickly shifts into a more cidery aroma. Somewhat dry with a bit of apple and pear, maybe just a very subtle banana. There is a touch of yeast and a mild spice character.

T: Sweet and somewhat boozy. Apples, pears, and light notes of banana along with a touch of lemon zest. Somewhat bitter for a Belgian beer. Not much going on, actually.

M: Medium bodied with low to medium carbonation.

O: Could have used a lot more carbonation and significantly more flavor.

 585 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a St. Bernardus goblet.

Thanks to JJFoodie for this bottle!

Devil's Backbone, eh? Sounds sinister. It pours a clear golden straw topped by a half-finger of white micro-foam. The nose banana, clove, pepper, rye bread, lemon zest, and a touch of citrus hops. The taste is similar, though with a heavier tilt toward those hops. As such, the citrus-y bitterness, not unlike an orange rind, is quite pronounced, driving the yeast-y and spicy notes underground, popping up only when able (or when crime is afoot...Turtle Power!). The body is fairly light, with an active carbonation and a somewhat dry finish. Overall, a solid tripel, a bit heavy on the bitters for me, but not enough to ruin things. Worth a try for sure.

 728 characters

Photo of thatoneguymike
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

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Devil's Backbone from Real Ale Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 811 ratings
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