Three Philosophers is the latest strong ale from Brewery Ommegang, in Cooperstown, NY. It walked into a bar last night, into the Blind Tiger Ale House to be exact. Billed as a “quadrupel”, which is just a Flemish way of saying “quadruple”, this is a big beer (9.8% ABV), obtained by blending a small amount of Lindemans Kriek into an abbey-style strong dark ale. There is a lot there, but not nearly as much as one would have expected: the beer is robust rather than refined, with considerable winy esters and noticeable alcohol as it warms up, a character that is very reminiscent of the brewery’s flagship Ommegang. The cherry lambic contributes a fruitiness, and a woody astringency reminiscent of an oak finish that adds dryness and balances out the massive malt, but the result lacks in smoothness.
I expect that aging –probably a year or two– will add the final polish that is currently lacking, and I intend to give it a try. It should turn into a fine sipping beer, well worthy of the elegant Chimay-like goblet that it is served in.
Oh, and the three philosophers? Nobody could figure out what they were prating about, so they went away thirsty.