Belgian Tripels: Part Deux

This Spring, we're tasting styles of beers from Belgium. Last week, we sipped some tripels straight from Belgium. The dry, refreshing character of these beers, the ambitious alcohol content (often 9% or more), and the surprisingly light body all conspire to make tripel a tremendous style for cold, wet weather. To really enjoy a tripel, you need to embrace one of the more fussy aspects of Belgian beer: specific glassware. Many Belgian brewers recommend a specific glass for their particular beers — but if you're like me, the idea of maintaining a library of specific glasses isn't sustainable. If you don't have a Belgian chalice-style glass, a white-wine glass is a solid second best. The narrow neck serves to concentrate the delicate aromas of the triple and provides enough room for the flavorful head to accumulate.

 

Tripel Karmeliet

Format Sampled: 11.2 oz. capped bottle

ABV: 8.4%

Availability: Provided by Artisanal Imports, Inc
Tasting Notes: Pours a pale straw, with a huge puff of white head. Aroma is fresh and sour, lemony, with notes of fresh pepper. Initial flavor is smooth, almost creamy on the tongue, with lemon meringue, and a rich, dairy-like sweetness. The sweet character fades, and I'm left with a peppery astringency, and dry, spicy cloves. The aftertaste builds in complexity, mixing spice, lemon, and sweet cream. I wouldn't hesitate to pair this with lemon cookies, sherbet, or any other sweet lemony dessert.

 

St. Feuillien Triple

Format Sampled: 11.2 oz. capped bottle

ABV: 8.5%

Availability: Provided by Artisanal Imports, Inc
Tasting Notes: Pours a cloudy yellow with a huge white head. Aroma has clove, tangerine, banana and clover honey. The initial flavor is bright, with a gentle prickle of lemony acidity. Immediately after the bright lemon flavor, things get malty. There's a lightly toasted biscuit flavor, slightly dry, musty and wonderfully complex. The wheat is augmented with subtle spice — coriander, clove, and nutmeg. The spice is gentle, but it builds a welcome pause into what is otherwise a surprisingly dry and quenching beer. The body is so light and dry, the flavor so interesting, the alcohol so insidious — it's a sneaky one!

 

La Trappe Tripel

Format Sampled: 750 ml capped bottle

ABV: 8.0%

Availability: Provided by Artisanal Imports, Inc
Tasting Notes: Pours a pale gold with a dense white head. The aroma is vibrant with green apple, yellow raisin, golden tobacco and dried clove. The initial flavor is surprisingly tart, with notes of green apple, fresh cider, and bitter hops. After the slightly tart opening, there's a sweet, creamy flavor, approaching fresh whipped cream. The creamy sweetness is so brief that I can describe the La Trappe as dry overall. The finish carries notes of sour apple, pungent clove and flashes of burnt sugar. The body is light and fluid and supremely drinkable.

Last modified onMonday, 08 May 2017 11:44