Brewery and Country of Origin: Brewery Ommegang of 656 County Highway 33, Cooperstown, NY 13326, USA

Date Reviewed: 8-26-13

Thanks to the wonderful process of Fermentation, beer allows us to ponder and view the wonderful things that make the world such an incredible place to be in ways people normally would not. Of course, sometimes this leads to heated political debates, gossip, and of course, regrettable late night decisions that have you waking up next to someone that puts a frown on your face. But sometimes, alcohol can lead to deep inner thinking, philosophical conversation, and existentialism. A beer can provoke such vibrant and lucid thought if it delivers an exceptional sensory experience. We talked a while back about beer which could evoke memories of old, and how sensory experience and memories are very much intertwined. Well for us, the concept of even pondering about all of this is related to a vocab term we learned way back in high school, metacognition. Essentially, metacognition is thinking about thinking, or knowing about knowing to some extent. In some arduous and abstruse sort of way, we're saying that a special beer has the ability to shape the way we think about anything, while we're enjoying it. And no, we're not saying that alcohol is the influence here. We're talking about the same drive, the same volatility of emotion you get when you smell the ocean for the first time in years, when you taste Italian pasta that's been freshly made, or when you observe great works of art. Your senses and emotions catalyzed by whatever it is that your experiencing dictate your thinking, albeit temporarily... unless of course you're so moved that it changes you forever. It was during the High Renaissance when a lot of this kind of thinking was going on, being expressed and interpreted by artists, including Giorgio Barbarelli da Castelfranco, or Giorgione, to you and us. He was an Italian born painter who is responsible for many famous works of art including The Three Philosophers. This is a 48"*57" oil canvas painting which depicts, yes, you guessed it, three philosophers of different ages by a tree and a cave with blue mountains and a village in the background. The painting's actual meaning has been the subject of many varied interpretations, but to us, it serves the same purpose as Cooperstown, NY brewery Ommegang's Three Philosophers beer. This beer is an expression of an artist's (brewmaster's) ability to think, therefore, exist. It is an extension of his or her thinking. Being served in bombers and appropriately elevated with a moderately strong presence (9.80% ABV), this Belgian style ale is a piece of art. Though it was never meant to hang in The Louvre or stand in the garden rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum, this quadrupel ale incites the audience to think about, well... thinking. And like an over interpreted classical novel in tenth grade English class, we know we're probably going too far into it. But the way you think about thinking is like no one else on this planet, so in essence, everyone's view is correct in their in right. That all said, sometimes we'd prefer to keep the thinking to the professionals, which is why we're happy to do it for you.
Date Sampled: 7-20-13 At: Puffin's Wilderness Refuge, Stab City, Blackthrone Resort, 348 Sunside Road, East Durham, NY, USA
Beer Style: Quadrupel
Alcohol by Volume: 9.80%
Serving Type: 22 oz Bottle, 16 oz Pint Glass
Rating: 4.07


Three Philosophers pours choppy like with a moderately high amount of carbonation action, producing a three quarters inch tall foam head with a low density, an off white/light tan color, and a medium high retention rate. This beer is unfiltered with the inclusion of fine yeast sediment, which gives off a good amount of haziness, and a bright brown rusty glow in the light. This beer displays moderately low amounts of lacing.


Roasted malty notes are the key highlight of this beer, which is supplemented with a good deal of fruity yeasty banana aroma. Coriander and clove like notes typical of the style are also present in fairly noticeable quantities, as is a faint amount of delicate, fruity hops. In general, the aroma is pretty complex, mixing in some nutty and biscuity notes in what is an average strength aroma overall.


This is a medium full bodied brew with a good amount of weight, a medium high viscosity, and an average amount of carbonation. The finish resonates with a definite presence of alcohol induced warming, which makes this a good fall/winter sipping beer. The finish is also quite dry with a good amount of lingering. There is a slightly crisp and smooth feel overall.


The flavor profile of this beer is full of sweet roasted, slightly nutty malt with a good amount of bread or biscuity like notes. This is augmented with an immediately detectable array of yeast clove and coriander notes with some lingering fruity (banana) and delicate, but citrusy and somewhat bitter hops which take care of a dry finish. There is some noticeable alcoholic taste toward the moderately lingering finish.

Our Take

With this Belgian style quad, you get all of the highlight qualities that a strong ale should deliver, without an overwhelming presence or distractingly powerful characteristics. This is a great beer which we found well balanced and relatively easy to drink, despite its rather strong properties. This beer has an appropriately malty aroma and a sweet, roasted flavor to match, without forgetting fruity and aromatic hops which help ferry a dry and crisp finish, leaving the mouth wanting more. If you're looking for a homegrown Central New York craft beer experience which takes roots from a part of the world far far away, you're in luck here. Malty, crisp, sweet, fruity, bitter, dry, strong, warming, and aromatic. That is what you're getting with Three Philosophers. There is no telling what trains of thought will come rolling into your head when enjoying a 22 ounce bomber of Three Philosophers, but we can assure you that you've got the right implement to conduct them.