Devil's Backbone | Real Ale Brewing Company

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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

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Reviews: 176 | Ratings: 782
Photo of buschbeer
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 FLUID OZ. bottle
Served in a snifter

A - It pours a hazy, golden amber color. It is topped with two inches of white head.

S - I could smell banana as I poured it. Upon further investigation, I thought it smelled like banana cream with some spices.

T - It has a mild banana taste at first. Belgian spices come through at the finish and tend to become the dominant flavor as it warms.

M - Moderate, smooth with low carbonation for the style.

O - While it is a timid tripel, I found it enjoyable. The banana and Belgian yeast spiciness were complimentary and refreshing.

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Photo of CMUbrew
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: A few shades above straw yellow when held up to the light. Hazy with plenty of yeast particles (probably should have decanted a little better). Not a whole lot of head to speak of.

S: Fruity yeast, apple, pear, hay. Smells like it be fairly sweet.

T: Yeast, grassy and slightly earthy hops, and honeycrisp apple. Sweet overall.

M: Carbonation may be a bit low, making it feel a little too big-bodied.

O: A really good, drinkable Belgian style beer.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.56/5  rDev -33.2%
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-

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Photo of jmbranum
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bought at Central Market in Fort Worth, Texas but enjoyed back home in Oklahoma.

I have long loved beers from Real Ale Brewing Co. so I was excited to try this one.

Pours an attractive clear gold with a one inch white head.

Aroma is very alcoholic. I can smell a bit of malt, some hops and then some interesting gasoline-like notes.

Complex flavor. Lots of hops to balance the sweet maltyness. Not crisp and dry as some of the style, but also some interesting hefeweizen-ish clove and bananas. Maybe a bit of pineapples.

Rich and full mouthfeel.

Overall, this beer is interesting. Maybe a little bit too interesting. It is very balanced but also has lots of domineering notes... the hops, the sweet malt, the herbs and definitely the alcohol. Unlike many tripels this beer doesn't hide those notes at all.

That said, what I like about this beer is the price. High ABV for the same price as the other offerings of Real Ale. It definitely is a good nightcap kind of beer.

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Photo of Premo88
3.59/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into tulip
(drank it on 4/3/13; best if consumed by 8/10/13)

L: pale yellow-orange, slightly opaque with pure white head about 1-inch thick with big bubbles on top; the head is different with the soapy-like bubbles; decent lacing off the head .

S: bananas, sweet/sour wine, sour grapes, fruity sweetness

T: sour/sweet wine-like taste, bananas ... very hefeweizen-like in a way, but the ABV kicks in on the finish and you can taste some of that alcohol; very balanced over all of its different taste notes

F: solid but not as much carbonation as most Belgians

O: great change-of-pace brew with all of the major key notes of a tripel. wine-drinkers would love this brew.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.66/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Tripel wise I don't think it was real outstanding in appearance, hazy tan with a 1 finger head that quickly settled to a white sheen, but the lacing was pretty good.

Taste and aroma had plenty of tripel qualities, Belgian yeast, cloves, banana, spices. A slight crispness enhances the flavors, it's a bit more drinkable than a typical tripel. Alcohol is only noticeable on the way down as it warms slightly. Body is medium to working on being full, carbonation is fairly low for a tripel, but by no means is it flat.

It's tasty. I don't personally think it's RABC's best, but then they have made quite a few beers that I really enjoy, so it's a bit hard to choose. OK it's still a tie between four squared and altbier, if you force me to tell. But the Devil's backbone is pretty good too.

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Photo of jngrizzaffi
3.79/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy golden color with a thin carbonated head. Head retention and lacing are minimal. Belgian yeast aroma with slight stale aroma. Taste of malty Belgian yeast, slight coriander and tropical fruit. There is a little spiciness at the end. Medium bodied with moderate to high carbonation. Good taste, but the aroma isn't very appealing.

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Photo of BSDA
4.06/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Being a huge fan of Belgian Ales, from this golden style to a deep, dark divinity like Chimay Grande Reserve, this one is right up my alley. The hoppy bitterness in the aftertaste is not strong like an IPA, somwhere around 35 IBUs? Poured from a bottle into a 16oz, short bell-shaped glass with handle. Color is a beautiful goldenrod, and smell is fruity, like subdued bananas and sweet malts. Feeling on the tongue and palate is thicker than wheat beer, but nowhere near amber or dark Belgian ale. Head dissipates very quickly in such a wide-mouth glass, and barely lasts 3min in a thin, fluted glass. No matter, because if you like a little bitter with your golden cream, then this is a beer for your roster. I give it a 4/5 because it lacks a little in complexity, though there are spices noted throughout the tasting experience. I will definitely buy again, as it delivers a simple Tripel experience without the Belgian Tripel price. A very Americanized version of a classic, this one is good for advocates to become acquainted with the heavier Belgian styles. Excellent for a sweet tooth, and quite refreshing!

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Real Ale Devil’s Backbone ale has a very thin, fizzy, off-white head, a hazy, brilliant, golden-orange appearance, some streaming bubbles, little floating brown particles, a descending gray-brown cloud, and decent lacing film left behind. The aroma is of sweet hard candy, grain husk, sweet corn, and yeast zest. Flavor is of peppery, yeasty, sweet, sugary malt, candy, grits, and a mellow hop bitterness to close out the sip. Mouthfeel is rather watery, and Devil’s Backbone finishes semi-dry, crisp, not alcohilic, and decently drinkable.


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Photo of ajisai
4.19/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Where/When: Austin, TX May 12th with best before date of October 22.

Serving: Bottle.

Scent: Really reminds me of Live Oak Hefeweizen. Sugary... Sort of banana-ish. A tad nutty.

Taste: The flavors are very light--the carbonation is constantly fighting with them. I feel a bit of vanilla and banana. Aftertaste is almost the same as initial taste; doesn't really change from sip to gulp. Lemon, banana, and vanilla is what I'd say overall.

Overall: Very nice drink. It's almost *too* deceiving because three of these will get me woozy. I would never think that this was 8% from how smooth it goes down. One of the more tasty beers from Real Ale.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.29/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to Grendle for this one.

Quite the tang on this one. Somehow it works well enough, but it's not really bringing balance or a level of complexity that keeps it interesting. I think I can sum if up by saying that it's pretty one dimensional. And frankly, this is what Belgian styles of yesteryear tasted like when coming out of the U.S.

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Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.61/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Drank 4 months before it's best by date.

Poured slowly down the middle of a chalice reveals a finger of white head that eventually falls apart to almost nothing and a clear golden colored body.

Smells of sweet bubblegum, apple cider, floral, with some spice.

Follows the nose with sweetness, apple fruitiness, spice, bready, and a touch bitter.

I drank this fairly warm and picked up slight alcohol vapors and flavor which provided a nice warming sensation. Could use a bit more carbonation. Pretty nice tripel overall.

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Photo of visualweasel
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A cloudy golden yellow with a weak white head, leaving behind minimal lacing. Had to agitate the pour to get a nice collar, which then dissipated rapidly.

S: Fairly typical Belgian tripel aromas: bubblegum, candy sugar, bananas. Quite nice.

T: Follows the nose, with the bubblegum prevailing (in a good way). Very nice indeed for the style, especially from a Texas brewer.

M: Medium-bodied with weak carbonation. Would have liked to see a bit more, but not at all bad.

O: A very nice example of the style. I thoroughly enjoyed this and found it a notch or two better than the Dick's Belgian Tripel (Centralia, WA) which I also had the same night.

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Photo of n2185
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a clear golden yellow with two fingers of white head that fades into a thin cap with good lacing.

S: Belgian spices witb lots of sweet candy sugar, bubblegum, and bananas. Yeasty aromas on the finish.

T: similar to the aroma, spices, bubblegum, and candy sugar dominate with a slightly bitter and yeasty finish.

M: medium body with lowish carbonation, this beer is a bit sticky and under-attenuated for my tastes.

O: a decent tripel overall. A bit heavy and not as balanced as I'd like, but still enjoyable.

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Photo of shortedaman
4.88/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I prefer this beer from the bottle. I have had 50+ of these. The key to this one is freshness. I too have grown a fondness for real ale brewing. Since im in houston i get it pretty fresh.

I love this beer. I love the alcohol content, i love how its super easy to drink, i love the taste. Its fruity and fairly thick, medium carbonation, nice belgian yeast flavor.

drinking this one from the bottle seems to add to the style. Pouring it into a tulip is all well and good, however theres just something special about drinking straight from the bottle. It tones down the fruitiness and alcohol taste. This beer needs to be reviewed by the bros for sure.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.52/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a fluted beer glass.

Pours an orange/yellow blend, with fast acting white foam. Fruity nose, and the candi sugar is in there too. Fruit flavored flavor, light sugary middle, mild hop bite. Medium complexity. Good cafrbonation in the mouthfeel. Little bit of peppery hop at the end.

Good flavor, nice blend.

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Photo of Labeorphile
3.61/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay chalice. Extremely clear for a Triple, showing it is filtered and not refermented in the bottle. Almost no head, and what there is quickly disappears.

Pineapple citrus in the nose, maybe some coriander, hints of banana. The taste has the flavor of a Triple, but one that isn't quite right. Tastes like an "Americanized Triple", which I guess is what it is. Overly clean, like they got the flavors right but not the character. Like someone singing Karaoke of your favorite song.

Not bad, especially if you aren't familiar with the true Belgians.

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Photo of mactrail
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of pgfault
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving: draught into a standard pint.

Pours a cloudy straw color with about 1cm head, which dissipated about half way thru.

Scent is pretty strong Belgian yeast. More than expected for this Texas brew.

Taste is just what you smell, along with banana. Scent seems to go away near the end of the beer.

Overall a very drinkable a pleasant beer, albeit deceivingly high in ABV. Grab one on tap if you can.

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Photo of OgreSanchez
5/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got from Total Wine in Dallas. I was pleasantly surprised with this beer; it's by far the best I've had from Real Ale. A sweet start is topped off my a nice spicy, semi-smokey finish that perfectly masks the ~8% ABV. It is classified as a abbey style tripel, however it's not really like any style beer I've ever had before.

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Photo of bboven
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Nice bright orange color, great haze, but very small head and no lacing.

S: A bit one dimenensional but all the right notes are there, Sweet, yeasty, bready, and just a little boozy.

T: A bit too much oxidation (yes, it's fresh according to the date on the bottle) but nicely sweet and a little boozy.

M: Spot on. Thick, creamy, low carbonation but not sticky. Best part of this beer.

O: Wouldn't be my first choice for this style but it definitely gets the job done.

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Photo of Ford
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tried this one straight from the bottle at Rudy's BBQ and Country Store in Clear Lake, Texas.

To tell the truth I haven't really liked this style much in the past. This is the first one I think I would grab and drink again.

You can certainly taste and feel the alcohol up front. There is some citrus fruit taste to me, but not overpowering. A bit of bitterness at the finish. I'm really starting to like Real Ale Brewing Company.

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Photo of emerge077
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

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Photo of ronzorelli
3.06/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had high hopes for this one. I'm slightly underwhelmed based on the other reviews. I wonder if I got a bad bottle of it.

Zero head. No lacing. Nothing but slick surface in the chalice. Even when I stirred it a little with my finger to release some of the carbonation, what very little rose to the surface, dissipated very quickly. No retention at all.

In the nose, I get a little caramel and a little citrus, but not much of either.

On the palate, it's slightly weak and a little bland. Not completely void of flavor, but just not a whole heck of a lot of anything. I do pick up faint hints of caramel. Some fruit, in the sharp apple range, and a little orange zest.

Is it a decent beer? Compared to big brew, yeah. Compared to other lines from Real Ale, it's average.

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Photo of Tone
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, gold color. 1/4 inch head of a white color. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of hops, alcohol, slight yeast, sweet malt, hint of citrus, and subtle spice. Fits the style of a Tripel. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol foremost, citrus, sweet malt, slight yeast, spice, and a hint of hops. Overall, good body, blend, and aroma.

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Devil's Backbone from Real Ale Brewing Company
3.83 out of 5 based on 782 ratings.
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