River Horse Tripel Horse | River Horse Brewing Co.

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River Horse Tripel HorseRiver Horse Tripel Horse

Brewed by:
River Horse Brewing Co.
New Jersey, United States

Style: Tripel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our take on a Belgian Style Tripel Ale, brewed with spices and fermented with a Trappist yeast strain which lends hints of vanilla and creates a variety of complex flavors.

Added by jerseyemt on 05-21-2003

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Reviews: 270 | Ratings: 632
Photo of Sammy
3.41/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Below average for the style, still quaffable. Chocolate brown colour. 10% is a lot, and I was getting it from the aroma through the afterhammer. A bit of sweetness, an OK chewy yeast. Spice, but nothing too complex. Fizzy carbonation. This is an interesting brewery.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a golden yellow color, pretty big fluffy white head on it. The smell of the beer had some decent wheat like aromas and a little bit of spices on the nose. The taste of the beer wasn;t too bad, I found that it was pretty close to what I would consider a good Tripel. Some of the flavors were a little off which is understandable. The mouthfeel was also decent, found it to have a good body and was drinkable. Overall it's an above average Tripel, wouldn't need to have it again though.

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Photo of metter98
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured cloudy golden with a big, white foamy head that died down considerably. Well carbonated.
S: Smells of alcohol and sugar dominate the aroma, while there are some hints of vanilla and yeast.
T: There's plenty of taste in this beer, but it's dry and not sweet.
M: The beer is well balanced and the flavors mask much of the alcohol.
D: You definitely need to let this one warm up a bit to appreciate it. Triples are meant to be slowly enjoyed but this is relatively easy to consume since it comes in 12 ounce bottles.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.15/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

In an attempt to create a standout Tripel, it becomes a little overkilled. Begins with every fruit and spice imaginable in a beer. Among which are pears, pineapples, oranges, pepper, and corriander. The malt and sugar base becomes over attenuated and the yeast exhibits a stressed plastic and fusal unnecessarily hot flavor and feel. The candy sugars add a powdered sugar taste and powdery texture. If you're interested in a pure alcohol beer and are not fussy about flavor, then this one is probably for you. If not, then there are much better Belgian Tripels out there.

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Photo of brentk56
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a light amber color with a spumeous head that is rock solid and leaves a fair amount of lace

Smell: Bananas and coriander, with a touch of lemon and a solvent alcohol element

Taste: Starts out with a banana and coriander flavor that is joined, mid palate, by a prickly harshness; the finish is quite alcoholic, but contains some tropical fruit elements in addition to the solvents

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with fizzy carbonation; lots of warming alcohol on the finish

Drinkability: Reading through these reviews, it appears that this beer has been somewhat inconsistent in the past as my impressions are very different from some other reviewers; in any event, I think this tripel has a lot going for it but would be improved dramatically by reducing the abv a couple of points

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Photo of largadeer
2.36/5  rDev -36%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: A hazy amber body with three fingers of white foam. This stuff is intensely carbonated - a torrent of rising bubbles keeps the head going for what seems like forever.

Smell: Spicy and sweet with an almost over the top clove aroma and a bit of soap beneath that.

Taste/mouthfeel: Good God, this is cloyingly sweet. Sugary as hell with an almost excessive spiciness. Clove, nutmeg and coriander with a refined white sugar sweetness is how I'd describe this. Light bodied, slightly overcarbonated and horribly sweet. If you enjoy eating sugar packets you may enjoy this. Personally, I think I'll grab something drier.

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Photo of jlindros
3.7/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to juliusseizure (Reddit) for this one.

Pours a light fizzy almost 1 finger head that fades at a med pace, very little lacing, super cloudy wheat orange yellow color.

Nose brings plenty of wit like wheat aromas, lots of wheat and tripel like Belgian spices coriander like, lots of citrus zest, Belgian esters with touch booze and bubblegum phenols, light Clementine flesh.

Taste continues, light Belgian tripel spices light coriander allspice like but light, fluffy malts with plenty of wheat, very Belgian wit like. Plenty of citrus again, fresh Clementine, orange peel galore, little tangy. Light yeasty flavor comes through with esters, some warming and slight tingly booze bringing hint of bubblegum phenols again. Finish is bitter, orange rind, light spices, wheat, Clementine, some light booze and a bit sticky despite drying.

Mouth is med bodied, little syrupy but fluffy, good carb, some warming and tingly booze.

Overall decent, more like a double Belgian wit but that can pass as a tripel these days since most American brewers seem to think that that is what a tripel means. However, well done wheat, spices, citrus, nice esters and phenols, and nice booze warmth.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.97/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

All of the River Horse beers have improved lately, and this one is no exception. It pours a hazy dull orange body beneath a short head of bright white foam that holds fairly well before dropping to a big bubbled collar.

The nose is interesting and enticing with notes of tropical fruit, sugar, and a bit of spice.

In the mouth it's surprisingly soft for the style, with a medium body and somewhat restrained carbonation.

The flavor is quite fruity and spicy with notes of pineapple, tangerine, papaya, melon, peach, lemon zest, and banana. It's lightly malty, but more candyish; and dry-and chalky but not decisively bitter. It is balanced, however, despite its bold character, by a touch of drying alcohol, plastic-like phenols, and some peppery spice. It finishes chalky dry, peppery, and lingering with some juicy fruitness.


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Photo of chinchill
3.2/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle into a Porter Bar .
Murky, golden body with a decent head.
This is rather spicy tripel with overly coarse carbonation.
More bitter than tart and more tat than sweet. Fairly complex flavor includes some yeast and bready malts.

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Photo of mactrail
3.64/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Truly intense stew of flavors. Long, long spicy nose. Carnations and sage. A hazy golden yellow in the wine glass. Pale color belies the thick mouth feel, which is quite sticky with sugar. A cordial-like flavor, perhaps a malt liqueur with herbs of Slovenia. It is kind of mysterious and intriguing. Hops? Hard to tell if the mix includes very aromatic hops or just the hyperactive Belgian yeast.

Quite drinkable as a bedtime sip or late night with cold pizza, say. Quite creamy and mouth-filling when you pour another inch after it's been open a while.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Precisely equal parts rich amber and juicy orange with pale lemon trim. Despite an elevated pour, the jaundiced ivory cap didn't quite reach two fingers in thickness. It looks good though and is gracing the glass with an attractive array of fine lace. Although I like the look, no one is likely to confuse Tripel Horse with a quality Belgian tripel when viewing them side by side.

The same could be said for the nose. Actually, the nose isn't that impressive. It lacks power and presence, two 'gotta haves' when it comes to beer of this style. A moderate clove spiciness keeps it from the ranks of the merely average.

I don't know why it's so difficult for American brewers (Allagash excepted) to brew good, Belgian-style tripels. Lack of experience is probably the biggest reason, but it can't be that difficult to pull off a decent version, can it? Tripel Horse, while a decent strong ale, isn't any sort of tripel at all. And I typically give beer of this style a fair amount of slack since I love it so much.

There isn't enough malt on board for starters, which has the effect of turning what should be a sweet fruitiness into a sour fruitiness. Sweetness and bitterness are present in lesser amounts and clash with the unripe fruitiness rather than working with it for the betterment of the beer as a whole. It doesn't taste like the Belgian yeast strain (that I assume was used) scored very high in Complexity 101 at Yeast University. Or is that *The* Yeast University?

The only real positive is the fact that the 10% ABV is hidden remarkably well. Tripel Horse drinks at least two percentage points lower than that. My hopes that the beer would improve to some extent with warming haven't been realized. It's just more of the same with less of a chill.

The mouthfeel tries its damnest, but can't quite make it to 'good'. It struggles to be medium for the style and begins to lose its composure as the finish approaches. I don't mind it, I just don't love it. A Belgian amount of carbonation might have helped. Then again, huge numbers of bubbles are best left in the hands of the masters.

River Horse Tripel Horse is neither a Triple Crown winner, nor is it destined for the glue factory. It's just a simple, inauthentic version from a brewery that I'm beginning to think of as no better than average. Yeah, I know that a river horse is actually a hippopotamus, but you try coming up with a decent play on words that involves a hippo.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.03/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

big frothy head and a nice hazy amber color, a bit darker then i expected to be honest and definitely lively. aroma is soft and light with peaches, pears, and tons of dry hops. really not at all what i was expecting, but what can you do. same with the flavor, not really all that i was expecting, light with too much emphasis on the grains and not enough punch, really just not doing it for me at all. finish is the same, clean but lacking true depth.

overall an ehh for me. i have had much better in the style for sure.

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Photo of Slatetank
2.98/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Alright I will make this one short and sweet - I picked this bottle up at the brewery tasting room, sampled from a tulip.

The appearance is good, light golden with some apricot hues, the ale is hazed and I let a little yeast particulate sneak in. The head is healthy and retains well. The lace stickage is ok and bead is fine. The smell is very banana with some slight clove tinges with a very sweet odor and relatively strong fusel alcohol aroma. The feel is my least favorite part of this ale, too sweet and has a warming feel pretty soon into the swallow with a slight spice tinge and some phenolics with a yeasty tanginess.

The Tripel is pretty mediocre flavor wise, it has some malt flavor, but mostly it just tastes sweet and simple with a yeasty tropical accent which comes off as ripe banana with a dash of spice. The flavor turns to alcohol pretty rapidly which is not quite like pure alcohol but doesn't really do anything to help matters. I would only recommend this if you have to try it because I have had more than enough of this (my wife would not split the bottle) since I had to drink 12oz myself.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.42/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a St. Bernardus goblet.

Thanks to stevglad and the N00b BIF for this bottle!

A tripel horse...what an abomination of nature! It pours a hazy amberish-straw topped by a quickly-fading finger of white foam. The nose is straight tripel, comprising pepper, Belgian-y yeast, cardamom, a hint of coriander and citrus peel, and wheat. The taste generally follows, though the usual spiciness is drowned out by a wave of citrusy wheat. This is a bit of a letdown after the smell led me to believe other things were coming to me. The body is a nice medium, with a lightish carbonation and a fairly dry finish. Overall, not the best tripel out there...there seems to be a lack of the necessary spice and tripel-ness. Something like that.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

True Confessions time, kids. I had this the other night out at House of Pizza in Millersville and was highly excited to see it in their cooler. They usually have some interesting things to try, plus I like their food as compared to Jack's, so there I was. I asked for a glass, which they gave me, but it was frosted, dammit. I figured, what the hey, I'll forge ahead. I now can say this unequivocably: a frosted glass is NOT the way to go.

It poured with a thin white head, but that can be attributed to the temperature of the glass. It had a spicy, yeasty nose. The beer was very clear and light amber in color. The mouthfeel was medium to creamy and it was very sweet in the mouth, with notes of vanilla. The finish was also sweet. I noted at this point that there was no indication, other than on the label, that this was 10% ABV.

As it warmed, I began to notice the alcohol burn in the mouth. The taste of sweet, fruity esters became more noticible. I also began to note the vanilla scent on the nose that the label mentions. I have now (re)learned my lesson. I will revisit this beer, but in a non-chilled glass.

Finally, the high alcohol content means lowered drinkabliity. I liked it, but man, was it powerful.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received in trade from mdaschaf, thanks for the opportunity.
Pours a slightly hazy deep golden color with a huge fluffy bone white head that sticks around forever. Smells floral with malty caramel and twinges of pomme fruit. Yeasty esters abound reminding us of its pedigree. Taste is malty sweet with caramel and light green apples. An abundance of ethanol or higher alcohol meld with spicy phenols in a long sweet finish. Medium body with a spirited level of carbonation and a sweet almost sugary mouthfeel. Decent flavorful tripel, but a bit rough with alcohol burn.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

Deep orange body, a few floaties not many, and some nice simple amounts of carbonation if only a little in the body as well. Head is a creamy classic simple white color, two fingers. Falls to a nice simple thin puck and good even collar.

Mild sensing fruited orange, but has a tinge of real nice sweetness but also a faint tartness as well. Spicy estery notes, a faint clove mixing in as well, going for a good basic balance. Not bad fairly solid but that tinge of sourness has me a little concerned.

Palate comes with quite a good amount of sweetness. Sugary and a bit syrupy, but also with large amounts of banana and fruit quality. Decent body, almost a little wet but still manages to not take away from enjoyment. Boozy finish, a little bit of hot clove going on as well. The banana takes away from a bit of orange and malt sweetness, and really starts to dominate and feel out of place though.

Overall not bad but a bit too much sugar like sweetness and booze. Some decent character is in here with some ester and fruit enjoyment, but it's a little bit large and needs to be reigned in a bit.

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Photo of jwc215
3.27/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours light orange with a thin head that immediately disappears. Interesting color, nice clarity, poor head retention.

A pleasant clove is in the aroma. Unfortunately, that's all folks...but the clove does give off a pleasant, inviting aroma. Wish there were more to it.

The taste is of aforementioned clove. Some sweet malt mixes in to give it a candy-like taste. The yeast, unfortunately, does not seem to fully stand up to the task. But, something about it makes it tasty enough to not be unpleasant. Some hints of vanilla come through in the finish. More aromatic than tasty.

Smooth, but a bit too thin.

Well, it's no Belgian, but it's a decent American interpretation of a Tripel. It does have a nice clove spiciness, and enough sweet malt to keep it from being a wreck. The abv is dangerously hidden, making it easy to drink. It comes in a six-pack (for about ten bucks). So if you want a not-so-bad tripel in a six-pack, it would be worth it. If you are looking for Belgium-in-America...I don't know that this one quite does it.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.14/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear apricot, blazing carbonation, thin, white head.
Aroma, yum, lush fruit, peach, apricot, with lovely spice and yeast adding to the pleasurable mix. Quite nice.
Beautiful entry on the palate, very gallant and smooth, a pulpy citric delight all up in the mouth...lush malt, little hops, very near delicious...no, wait, it is, why not...the 10% abv doesn't make itself felt in the least...oh, maybe a little...
Not quite exactly what I think of when I think "tripel"... a bit juicier than that...but, what the hell, it's good!

(and thanks to kakfaESB!)

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Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled a 12 ouncer, no freshness indication provided on the label. Pours an orangy shade of copper/amber. Suprisingly clear, minimal yeast /sediment in this one. Head is light and white and it leaves wispy and stringy lacing. Nose I picked up is some light coriander like spicing and some Belgian yeast esters. This is a fruity, dry, enjoyable brew. More like a hearty Belgian pale ale to me then a tripel, but who really cares what they call it. This is a pleasant and worthy U.S, take on the style. Strong and flavorful, well worth a try. Best stuff I've had from RH.

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Photo of Gavage
4.04/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear yellowish orange in color. A short 1/2" head that quickly falls flat was surprising with the clearly visible strong carbonation bubbles. The aroma is very pleasant as malt and fruits are easily detectable and enjoyable. Flavor-wise this beer is quite sweet, as the syrupy malt is well balanced with a orange citrus, apples, pepper, alcohol, and it is rounded out with a mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel is syrupy and smooth. Heavy in body. The malty thickness rides the tongue long after swallowing. Drinakbility is a bit down from a good level since this is a really enjoyable single beer session, but several may wear on you with the high and well hidden alcohol level. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of tempest
2.93/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Shared a bottle with a friend and served the beer in a small goblet.

The body is a clear gold with a short white hed, all good so far. The aroma is a bit odd with fresh, cut apples with spice. The flavor has more of the apple with light clove with an odd malt sweetness that reminds me of extract beer. Still, the drinkability of this 10% brew is quite good. Unfortunately, the flavor doesn't make me want to continue.

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Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours an amber color with a thin white head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a very balanced aroma that boasts of pale and light crystal malts along with a dominating Belgian yeast finish. It is fruity and quite refreshing. The taste is good as well. It has a smooth malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes fruity and slightly tart. It is one of the most drinkable tripels I've ever had. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an excellent sessions brew. It has a refreshing aroma and a smooth, balanced flavor; a good drinker.

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Photo of tone77
4.07/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a cloudy brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is somewhat sweet, fruits and yeast. Taste is good, fruits, malts, a touch of alcohol. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a fine quality brew.

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Photo of biegaman
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rotting orange peel with specs of suspended yeast appearing like growing mold. Tripel Horse's bare surface doesn't instill a lot of faith for a beer aimed at being a Belgian classic. If this truly were Belgian it would have a full mound of creamy, rocky head. Besides, its dreadfully mucky complexion lends it an appearance as polluted as the Hudson River anyhow.

Conversely, the aroma is everything one could ask for in a tripel. It is floral and fruity, sugary sweet and spicy, potent with a potpourri like bouquet. There's a big checkmark in each box. The smell of white chocolate drenched in Gran Marnier orange liqueur and sugary, almond flavoured biscotti smeared in pear compote is beyond exceptional.

The taste isn't nearly as detailed as the aroma, nor the bottle label for that matter, but it's still very pleasant. It offers bruised, softened orchard fruits, pear and peach in particular, with a splash of dry white wine and vanilla bean. I'm happy to drink anything this pleasantly tasteful, even if it doesn't quite compete on the same level as more authentic counterparts.

The mouthfeel - although less than spectacular - is surprisingly solid as well. The spice is gentle and tickles the palate; it never becomes overwhelming. It adds a welcome dimension to the straightforward suggestion of fruit. The beer is light bodied and enjoyable but I'd up the carbonation in order to really achieve full potential.

I wanted to say the alcohol wasn't obvious, although that would be misleading. It isn't outright obvious but a harsh, unmasked note of ethanol lends a very solventy characteristic that is unmistakable. The beer is insistently warming where as the best of tripels will be more refreshing and less obvious about their strength.

I have few complaints with River Horse's Tripel. I love the aroma and I really like the taste. I'd buy this regularly if I could. It doesn't drink exactly like a classic Belgian tripel but it's a lot closer than many American micro-breweries have come. I wouldn't change a thing to the recipe; with a little bit more attention to detail this could be one of the best.

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River Horse Tripel Horse from River Horse Brewing Co.
3.69 out of 5 based on 632 ratings.
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