Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Spencer Trappist Ale

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1089) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 29, 2014
I poured an 11.2oz bottle into a tulip glass. I believe there was a freshness code but I couldn’t decipher it. A friend picked up a bottle in Boston for $4.99 ($0.45 per ounce). Thanks, Jason!

Appearance: Beautiful glowing orange hue, like an American IPA. Quite hazy but not completely opaque. Pours to a large, white, soapy head which mostly fizzles away and leaves only minor lacing on the glass.

Smell: Huge banana notes in the classic Belgian tradition. Light spices and flowery hops.

Taste: Spencer Trappist Ale is the first Trappist beer to be brewed in America by the monks themselves (there are a few “Abbey Ales,” but it’s not the same thing). This puts the beer in a unique position as it’s brewed, with authentic Trappist yeast in the Belgian pale ale style. However, there’s clearly a lot of American influence on this brew since it’s quite hoppy as well.

This beer is delightful off the bat. A sweet fruity sensation hits the tongue with notes of banana and orange, followed by a gentle mélange of light, dry spices of coriander, clove and black pepper. More orange presence on the finish due to, I’m assuming, dry hopping. There’s bitterness as well, but it’s restrained and matches the natural Belgian yeast character perfectly.

Drinkability: The old world Trappist beers aren’t known for being drinker-friendly, since they’re usually intended to be special beers. And while Spencer Trappist Ale isn’t exactly a session beer, it’s remarkably drinkable. The mouthfeel is crisp, but not thin or watery. It’s refreshing while crossing the tongue and finishes mostly clean with just a slight dry sensation. It doesn’t seem to be as “heavy” as its 6.5% ABV weight, which makes it quite tempting to drink several back to back. 
Grade: 8/10

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