In the long history of the Trappist monasteries of Belgium and the Netherlands, the Monastic style of brewing calls for care, attention, and an important facet of the monks – a long view into the future. Beers that are brewed in the Belgian tradition often feature qualities attributed to wine such as strength, complexity, and smoothness. Typical to the style, these ales often feature additional sugars being included to help lighten the body, increase the strength, and provide a drier finish.
Last produced in 2018, Sapient Trip Ale has returned as part of the next evolution of Dark Horse Brewing Co in Marshall, MI. Having originally come to life as a classic Summer Wheat Ale, the founding brewers transitioned to a traditional Trappist strain of yeast which resulted in the golden Belgian-style Tripel now billed as Sapient Trip Ale.
Slightly hazy and golden in color, this ale presents a complex amalgamation of clove, tropical fruits, and a slight pepper essence. The inviting nose brings you to a warming medium body featuring layers of robust pale malts and the esters of clove and peppery notes from the Belgian strain while the sweetness beneath carries mild banana and stone fruit undertones. Sapient is clean and smooth yet will prove to be a sneaky bugger with a warming, yet cloaked, 9.5% ABV. The finish is dry with lingering spice from the Trappist strain while carrying only the slightest hop bitterness. Sapient Trip Ale is an old friend who is great to reunite with on occasion as it calls you to refresh yourself with each enjoyable sip.
Author’s note – I do not chase beers often. When I do it is for the great ones. Thanks to J.V. (a good friend and fellow Sapient fan) for meeting up with me to meet at a brewery between us so I could happily accept a new Dark Horse growler of Sapient that he had acquired. Since it was a taproom only release with no bottling plans at that time, we had to ensure I could get one of the best Belgian Tripels we have in the Michigan Craft Beer community.
Disclaimer: Weasel did purchase this beer for this review – along with a flight as a thank you gift for J.V. for meeting up with him.