Category Archives: Tripels

Boatrocker Brewing Co. Tripel

Rating:

21687860_750410481809766_8852786245190137347_n“This is a 9.6% Belgian style Tripel using Westmalle abbey yeast and Boatrocker’s house made candi syrup. This has been cellared and bottle conditioned for over 3 months and will continue to develop.”

Served in a Trappist tulip. It hits the glass with a cloudy orange hue which forms a wispy head over the top. It peels off to an island with minimal lace sticking to the sides.
The aroma has a lot of depth to it, plenty of yeasty funk, big malt driven sweetness and a tonne of spicy phenol. Loving this candied apricot and apple pie accent along with a kind of stewed orange/Cointreau-esque character. It’s quite doughy as well. Subtle bread crusts and grains making their way through. Complex and highly aromatic.
Quite the unique and interesting fusion of flavours on entry – very doughy and semi sweet with a prickly injection of orange citrus and either paw paw or papaya. The 9.6% ABV plays a big role in bringing the Cointreau and Grand Marnier midway. It has a nice and measured sign off with notes of subtle spice, stone fruits and Sherry that is given a nice boozy warmth in the tail.
The feel is relatively mild for a beer its size. The alcohol certainly adds some ticker but that aside it’s smooth, moderately bodied and nicely carbonated.
That is a fine interpretation of a tripel. They’re few and far between in Australia, especially when brewed by Aussie brewers. We’re certain the Westmalle yeast had a huge influence in this beer and points for sourcing such quality product. It paid off! Solid offering.

3 Ravens ‘Little Raven’ Tripel

Rating:

21370861_744964992354315_316042048320756046_n“Brewed to celebrate Belgian National Day 2017, this strong Belgian-style Triple is inspired by a famous example brewed in Canada, and showcases the Quebecois brewer’s distinctive yeast strain.”

Served in a Trappist tulip. Little Raven offers a bold amber pour with remarkable clarity. It arouses a finger of head that disappears as quickly as it forms. Minimal lace being left on the glass as we imbibe.
Interesting aroma. Certainly not your traditional tripel as it offers very floral and tangy notes with a distinct aged white wine sweetness. In saying that though there is a strong yeasty aspect as it hits a phenolic note with spicy apple pie, rosewater and poached pears coming through. Angostura bitters, alcohol and flambèd oranges open up as it warms. Quite a complex number!
Very sweet but also bitey upfront. Definitely doesn’t have the sophisticated flair that their Canadian counterparts possess. Tonnes of slightly cloying rosewater and tangy angostura bitters are here but there’s no counterbalance, minimal yeasty banana and or spice. Some alcohol astringency and pithy orange peel develops late before a sharp and boozy warmth finishes it off.
The texture is syrupy and somewhat dense. The 9% ABV doesn’t shy away. Medium body and co2.
We hate to say it but if it’s the French-Canadian style of the likes of DdC, Unibroue and Le Trou Du Diable they’re going for then they have missed the mark. We will admit it’s a very difficult set of flavours to achieve but it tastes far from the better balanced tripels we’ve tried from the aforementioned breweries. A bit of a shame really.

Australian Brewery/Chur Brewing ‘Tripel Threat’ Tripel

Rating:

17884229_674370749413740_5273861919444412385_n“A monster of a beer. Huge yeast, hop and alcohol combine in an intimidatingly sublime version of a classic Belgian Tripel. This is a collaboration beer between The Australian Brewery, Chur Brewing Co (aka Behemoth Brewing Co in NZ) and Beer & Brewer magazine.”

Served in a Trappist chalice. We’re met with a cloudy mustard yellow hue that sports a short white crest on top. Rapid reduction, scaling back to a ring with minimal lace as we imbibe.
Our first thoughts of the nose are pretty good, it presents a lovely yeasty sweetness with suggestions of funk, barnyard, spice and mild sourness. Not getting a great deal of banana and clove (or bubblegum) and it’s a little heavy on the herbs with a pronounced citrus tang. Very action packed aroma just a little askew in terms of execution.
The mouth feel is nice and accommodating which is excellent considering the hefty ABV (10.5%). It offers a lifted Co2 with medium body. Nothing aggressive just a smooth fluency over the tongue.
The front palate is driven by a blend of citrus and supported by hints of fresh pear and apple, subtle earthy hops and spice. Maybe a bit more bitterness in comparison to its Belgian counterparts as a certain dryness kicks in through the mid. More of a traditional finish with spice, fruity esters, candied lemons and hints of banana seal it all up while a decent length is shown in the tail.
Maybe not the best representation of a traditional Belgian tripel but it certainly has the potential to be one. There’s just a few minor things that subtract from it but it can be excused as most would know how difficult this style of brewing can be. Not bad.

The Bruery ‘Trade Winds’ Tripel

Rating:

17309349_659297914254357_3083795401209431808_n“Our Summer seasonal, Trade Winds Tripel is a Belgian-style Golden Ale with a Southeast Asian twist. Instead of using candi sugar (typical for such a beer), we use rice in the mash to lighten the body and increase the gravity, and spice with Thai Basil. The result is an aromatic, digestible and complex beer made for a lazy summer evening.”

Served in a Trappist tulip. It pours with a magnificent three finger crown overlaying the bold amber body. The head is retained extremely well and works a healthy lace as we imbibe.
Super complex aroma – incredibly well layered with plenty of depth on offer. The most prominent scent is the refreshing and slightly tart citrus rind that’s got heady notes of orange, spice, herbs, floral perfumes and angostura bitters in support. We get a pretty sweet and biscuity malt structure along with the typical yeasty banana and bubblegum undertones. Maybe just a hint of booze but it’s pretty well concealed. Lovely aroma.
In the mouth it’s actually quite palate friendly with medium body and the mildest trace of acidity. A little frothy in texture due to the active Co2. They’ve done a solid job hiding that 8.6% ABV too.
It hits the tongue with a somewhat tart citrus sweetness. Starting to get the spicy Thai basil notes that come through with a funky and estery green apple fruitiness. It follows up with the hallmark banana runts, bubblegum and peppery spice before punctuating on a dry, kind of warming and herbaceous finish that endures well on the back palate.
We’ll get straight to the point and say that this is a damn fine interpretation of a Belgian tripel. The aroma is a near 10/10 and the flavour, although not as good, is still complex and traditional in its delivery. This was our 2nd crack at their range and again, we’re very impressed.

Unibroue ‘La Fin Du Monde’ Tripel

Rating:

17156348_656126631238152_9220390132975796369_n“La Fin du Monde was developed through 18 months of research on a unique strain of yeast originating from Europe. It is brewed in honor of the intrepid European explorers who believed they had reached the “end of the world” when they discovered North America ‘the new world’. This triple-style golden ale recreates the style of beer originally developed in the Middle Ages by trappist monks for special occasions and as such it was the first of its kind to be brewed in North America.”

Served in a Trappist chalice. The pour offers a murky golden orange body with a wispy layer of foam on top. Very gradual reduction, eventually settling to a fine overlay that drops a sheet of lace down the walls of the glass.
We’ve been big fans of Unibroue ever since we took a family trip to Canada in 2003. If there were any brewers on the planet close to brewing a traditional Belgian Trappist beer as well as the Belgians it’s the French Canadians. We also find that their interpretations offer a distinct residual sweetness that, in this case, resembles orange sorbet. Then there’s wave after wave of heady yeast esters, citrus rind, herbs, clove, banana runts, sourdough crust and candied lemons. Phenomenal.
The mouth feel blows us away with its amazingly smooth, effortless and approachable texture. How the hell is this 9% ABV?! We can’t taste the booze one bit. Medium body, mild-medium Co2. So dangerously drinkable.
Certainly some complexity to the flavour but everything simply gels together so well. A good impression of spice, citrus and banana casually meets the moreish candi sugars, pear/apple and slight honey malt sweetness in the middle. The peppery spice, subtle alcohol warmth and herbaceous hoppy bitterness lingers in the tail, giving it some seriously good length on the back end.
Truly impressive stuff here from Unibroue. Not a lot differs between them and the masterful Belgians when it comes to the fine art of Trappist-inspired brewing. Solid interpretation.

Bravik De Brabandere ‘Petrus’ Gouden Tripel

Rating:

16298919_636772513173564_3009417888696886954_n“A strong, abbey-style ale, clean and complex. This fine sparkling beer has a mild malt flavor with a dry bitter aftertaste. The aroma hop and fruit aromas of the refermentation provides a refreshing nose. The head is stimulated by the fine bubbles which are created in the refermentation.”

Served in a Trappist tulip. Deep cloudy amber in appearance with a frothy two finger head taking shape on top. It swiftly recedes to a loosely held film that struggles to produce any considerable lace on the glass.
The lack of head is rarely an issue with traditional Belgian Tripels because as soon as the olfactory’s cop a whiff of the aroma all is forgiven. This chewy, buttery and uber sweet caramel malt base works upwards in to decadent layers of candied lemons, Angostura bitters, clove, banana runts, phenols, doughy malts and orange peel. There is no brewery in the world that brews Tripels like the Belgians. Phenomenal aroma.
The texture of the beer is gelatinous but also quite dry and effervescent. The 7.5% ABV seeps through a little but ultimately it’s well disguised. Medium-full in body.
Quite an eager display of yeasty phenols upfront. Hints of semi-tart pear cuts in to the earthy spice that balances with the syrupy caramel and honeyed malts. Yep, that’s just the start! The middle takes on the tart apples as it leads with candi sugar and subtle booze on to a mildly dry, spicy, fruity and phenolic finish that displays good length on the rear.
God dammit that is good! It’s safe to say that where you find one brilliant beer you’ll find another. The Petrus Dubbel is almost a 10/10 and so is this. It ticks all the boxes for us. Outstanding drop.

 

Brouwerij De Halve Maan ‘Straffe Hendrik’ Tripel

Rating:

“Traditional top-fermentation beer that referments in the bottle. Brewed by the unique family brewery De Halve Maan, which has been located in the historical heart of Bruges since 1856. Straffe Hendrik is an authentic Belgian Triple beer, still brewed according to the original recipe.”

Served in a Trappist tulip. This tripel pours a hazy amber with a billowing three finger head which casually deconstructs and establishes a thick halo. We’re seeing some healthy webbed lace trails as we indulge. We just LOVE a traditional Belgian tripel and the nose on this bad boy is just that. We get a tonne of sweet honey, caramel malts and yeasty phenols along with mashed banana, fresh pear, candied orange and plenty of spice. Earthy and herbal hops also push through as a somewhat retrained alcohol scent completes it. Superb aroma, really hitting the traditional note perfectly. The texture of the beer is well carbobated, medium in body and slightly sticky with a nice hint of warmth from the 9% ABV. Remarkably pleasant to drink considering its weight. Very well balanced foreflavour. We get those lovely sweet malts in the centre with hints of tangy orange, herbs and a mild-medium bitterness that firms through the mid. The warmth from the ABV is brought on slightly as it’s highlighted with a hint of candied citrus. It finishes on a warm boozy note but it’s softened by a caramel sweetness that goes the length on the back palate. Brilliant. There really is no substitute for a traditional Belgian tripel and the brewers at Halve Maan have it completely dialled in. How can anyone compete with 120 years of brewing to the same recipe? You can’t really, so just sit back and bask in the history and sheer deliciousness of this beer.

Boulevard Brewing Smokestack Series ‘Long Strange’ Tripel

Rating:

13920906_554289418088541_6625660531117346044_n“Lately it occurs to us that if, back in 1989, you planned on starting a brewery in the back of your carpentry shop, you’d been wise to seek out someone like Harold “Trip” Hogue. A collector of ancient Volvos, Trip was well qualified for the make-do engineering required to coax recalcitrant equipment out of retirement and into making the first Boulevard beers. Today, he is our longest-tenured employee. We offer this rich, golden Tripel in grateful tribute to dedication, everywhere.”

Uncaged, uncorked then served in to a wide rimmed tulip. The slightly hazy amber pour aroused a big and frothy three finger head that takes the best of five minutes to settle and retain a dense overlay that laces well. Smells lovely. We really get the impression that the brewers are going for a traditional approach as we detect a big, malty sweet presence with substantial wafts of Belgian candi sugars, banana runts and clove. The 9.2% ABV plays a strong role on the nose too, helping to drum up those sharp fruit esters, peppery spice and phenols. Certainly getting some orange, fresh pear and apple pie coming through with light floral perfumes in the tail. Absolutely spot on, as good as any Belgian tripel on the market in terms of aroma. Nice feel in the mouth, carbonation is lively and assists in providing the gassy texture. Quite light on considering the strength, and on that note they’ve done pretty well to contain the burn. Excellent continuation on to the palate. Upfront we get a tonne of sweet malts, fruit esters and a sharp citrus tang that carries nicely in to the mid. A mild alcohol warmth is then emphasized by a spicy/peppery accent that crescendos before a dry and ever so bitter finish that provides lengthy hints of herbal hops and yeasty sweetness on the back end. This is an excellent interpretation of a Belgian tripel. Slightly higher in ABV but overall it’s contained well. Without a doubt in a blind tasting we wouldn’t be able to differentiate between this and any other top shelf tripel by the likes of Westmalle, Karmeliet or even Chimay. Just world class stuff.

Garage Project ‘Touch Wood’ Elderflower & Honey Tripel

Rating:

13669808_545153052335511_7812913674151627792_n“According to folklore, the Elder (Sambucus Nigra) is a tree imbued with a deep magic. It was said to ward off evil and even that couples who drank an ale infused with the Elderflower would marry within the year. Brewed with malted barley and wheat infused with Elderflower sugar syrup, fresh Elderflowers and honey create a beer alive with the verdant joy of Spring. You need a bit of good luck to pull off a beer like this – so ‘touch wood’.”

Served in a tulip glass. From the pour a short, fizzy head gradually reduces to a ring and reveals the slightly hazy golden amber body underneath. Lacing is minimal. The nose displays the feature elderflower and honey quite conservatively, although a few more deep whiffs does help to uncover a lovely floral sweetness. We also detect a dry bretty sourness, probably more tart than sour, which imparts hints of pomegranate and lemon as undertones of peppery spice, champagne and fresh herbs act as the more traditional Tripel characters. Good depth and complexity on show here. The mouth feel has a lovely crisp texture to it. The 9% ABV is extremely well hidden. Just a touch of that saliva inducing tartness coming through. Light feel, medium body and good Co2. We get more of the sweet honey and floral elderflower on entry – they’re more pronounced than they were on the nose. A delicious cameo of vanilla creeps in before a mild alcohol warmth couples with a subtle citric tartness through the mid. A slightly cloying malt sweetness in turn delivers a dry, floral finish that provides some good length to the rear palate. Quite a nice release here from Garage Project. Of late they’ve been a bit up and down (our thoughts anyway) so it’s good to see them hitting back with this highly drinkable Tripel. Props for the packaging too, very artistic and labour-heavy with the red string tying the wrapping paper off at the neck. We liked it, nice traditional Tripel base with the elderflower and honey accents worked through beautifully. Decent offering.

Nogne O ‘Aurora Australis II’ Port Barrel Aged Tripel

Rating:

13417645_526941857489964_8735033148347618719_n“In Norwegian tradition alcoholic beverages are sent across the globe to benefit from the temperature variation and climate changes experienced when crossing the equator. This Belgian triple was brewed at Bridge Road Brewers in Beechworth, Australia. Maturation took place in Australian port barrels on its journey to Norway. Blending and packaging was carried out by Nøgne Ø.”

Served in wide-rimmed chalice. The appearance is heavily clouded with an apricot hue. It’s covered by a one finger cap that gradually peels back to a halo with scarce lacing left on the glass. Some really pungent aromas emanating here – we can certainly get strong wafts of port from the barrel aging process this Tripel underwent. Furthermore we get a soft oaky tannin that works brilliantly in to this mild funky tartness. There are some fruity elements too – stewed apples, pear and apricot are all somewhat emphasized by a subtle alcohol burn on the olfactory’s. It almost has this sherry-like sweetness to it as well. Gorgeous, really complex but a delight to take in. The mouth feel is oily and slightly sharp. The 11% ABV doesn’t overplay its hand which is great because it allows the port tannins to wash over the tongue. Co2 is moderate and the body is medium. Drinks very nicely. Upfront we definitely detect those traditional Belgian candy sugars that marry together beautifully with light port notes and oak. Hints of caramel sweetness flow through the mid along with flavours of artificial fruits that lead in to a sweet fruity, tart and slightly spicy finish with a lingering alcohol warmth on the rear palate. Not a great deal of traditional Belgian Tripel characters here but the barrel aging in port barrels is a master stroke and really gives this beer its unique flavour and aroma. Far from a sessional drop but with enough flavour to sink a ship, this is a damn fine Tripel that’s tough not to enjoy.

 

La Sirene ‘Wild Tripelle’ Tripel

Rating:

12112514_501708230013327_9030278463199115605_n“La Sirene Wild Tripelle is a 100% spontaneously fermented Belgian Tripel produces with the indigenous resident microbes within our brewery’s walls. A concoction of complex citrus aromatics & flavours, floral hints & funky wild yeast driven characters. Wilde Tripelle is a testament to the magic of Mother Nature & untamed brewing.”

Served in a beer tulip. Hazy golden orange pour with a healthy two and a bit finger head that retreats to a halo with scarce lacing. Certainly getting a lot of traditional Belgian yeasty aromas with a clove-like spiciness, banana runts and bubblegum gushing out. A suggestion of vanilla comes through with a delicate citrus sweetness to balance. All the Tripel characters are here but the ‘wild’ component is completely M.I.A on the nose – no funkier than your average Tripel which to be honest suits us just fine but your seasoned Sour drinker probably wouldn’t be all that thrilled. The texture of the beer is mineraly with a medium-high Co2 level. Body is quite full but not heavy on the palate, it’s got more of a dense and frothy fullness to it. The 8% ABV is kept well in check while a slight sourness has the saliva glands working. The flavour profile begins quite sharply. A vigorous fusion of alcohol warmth, citric acidity and carbonation ease into softer notes of clove, apples and white grapes across the mid. The sourness maybe missing on the nose but it’s surely made up for in flavour as it leads in to a clean and dry finish with reasonable length. Not as interesting as we’d hoped for but it still has plenty to offer. A little more funkiness would have helped the beer live up to its name but the Tripel characters were spot on. Definitely not in the league as their praline ale but a decent quaffer all the same. Good, but not great.

Trappistenbrouwerij De Kievit ‘Zundert’ Tripel

Rating:

539211_465714063612744_4729403675372599495_n“For the first time in 125 years a new Trappist brewery opens its doors in the Netherlands. The name of the beer is Zundert , named after then place where the brewery stands. Zundert Trappist is a copper-gold, fermented beer with eight percent alcohol.”

This is the Netherlands’ 2nd Trappist brewery. 2nd only to one of the worlds most famous Trappist breweries, La Trappe. For us, it’s another Trappist brewery/beer we can tick off our list in our quest to try a beer from every Trappist brewery in the world.

Served in a wide-rimmed tulip glass. Pours to a deep amber hue with a soft copper tint. A fizzy three finger head is generated, eventually it retreats to a thick overlay with healthy lacing being strewn down the glass. Smells like a good traditional Tripel – rich, complex, fruity and yeasty. Banana, clove, bubblegum, and vanilla lead out while undertones of peppery spice, stewed apples, alcohol and crystalized sugars work in the background. Good texture in the mouth, medium-full in body with a vibrant Co2 level. The 8% ABV is detectable upfront but the burn does taper off as it progresses down with ease. So simple to drink. The palate somewhat mirrors the aroma. Very yeasty, quite estery, and a little fruity with a touch of spice coming through. The alcohol warmth is discernible but it eases off leaving a sweet, spicy finish to round it all off. Decent length. Excellent Tripel. Traditional in style and super easy to drink. May be not as good as the likes of La Trappe or Westmalle but it’s definitely a classy drop. More to the point, it means now only St Josephs and Westvleteren are the only two remaining Trappist breweries we are still to try. Challenge accepted.

Black Heart Brewery Limited Release Tripel

Rating:

12247205_451707221680095_7752108012098403400_n“This complex strong Belgian ale is a marriage of spicy, fruity and alcohol flavours mixed with orange and peppery notes along with a low but distinctive floral hop character.”

This is the 2015 limited edition Tripel. Bottle 304/500 so it’s quite rare and we’re pretty damn happy about getting our hands on one. Served in a beer tulip. The somewhat bronze appearance caps off with a finger of beige foam that rapidly reduces to a halo with minimal lacing. Looks a lot darker than the standard Belgian Tripel. A light twirl of the glass evokes slightly complex aromas. Very multi-layered. Initially we get sweet scents of caramel and raisin with a kind of plummy juiciness. Delve deeper and a subtle liqueur-like quality is detected, not quite as sharp as sherry or port, more like a spiced rum character. Definitely a hint of pepper, a touch of candy and a somewhat stewed pear fruitiness to fill it out. Solid aroma! Good balance in the mouth. While the texture is smooth and velvety there is a subtle alcohol (9.2% ABV) warmth that stimulates the palate. The Co2 is mild and body is around the medium mark. Initially the sweet malts, raisin, caramel and alcohol burn combine on entry. Midway, fruits like banana and orange are introduced as a slightly peppery spice leads in to a dry and fruity finish. Our first crack at this breweries range was a bit of a disappointment but this Tripel has certainly won back our respect. Good complexity, true-to-style, tasty and above all it’s highly palatable. This is a decent version of a Belgian Tripel.

Red Duck ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ Barrel-aged Belgian Tripel

Rating:

12185103_446500915534059_5125094796394700475_o“Red Duck Bizarre Love Triangle is our extended version of Blue Monday, aged in a Hogshead (oak barrel) for 6 months, which changed this simple Tripel into something much more complex, different, softer, oakier, and delicious. Notes of a little caramel, butterscotch, vanilla and a whole lot of love.”

Served in a snifter glass. This barrel-aged Tripel pours a deep amber hue with a soft crimson tint. A short white head is generated but it reduces quickly to a lonely island of foam in the middle. Laced poorly. The aroma offers a lot of sour and bretty features initially. We detect a lot of tart citrus, lemon juice, rosewater, pepper, dried tea leaf, oak, caramel and an unwelcome sulphuric scent to round it out. Brown bottle so it being light-struck wouldn’t be the case. Probably just a byproduct of the barrel ageing process. Ultimately an unconventional Tripel aroma but somewhat nice in its own right. In the mouth it’s as smooth as silk with a kind of wine-like woody tannin. We get a subtle sharpness from the 7.8% ABV but the malts snuff that out quickly. Not a great deal of weight to the beer so it’s coming across as quite thin in texture. All in all it’s not too bad in the mouth. This sour funkiness is transferred from the aroma on to the flavour. Plenty of oak earthiness, lots of tart citrus, a suggestion of musty dryness and a warming heat from the alcohol is what we’re getting. All we’re missing is almost every hallmark one would expect from a Tripel! Here and there we get hints of spice and maybe a hint of vanilla but there isn’t a lot other than sour, oaky, tangy and musty flavours. Loving the complexity! And we’d be loving it even more if we were actually drinking a wild ale or a sour but it’s marketed as a Tripel and we hardly got any prominent Tripel flavours out of it. Points for all round aroma, flavour and complexity but somewhat disappointed with the missing Tripel character.

Westmalle Trappist Tripel

Rating:

imageIn one of our recent reviews of a Trappist beer we revealed our plight to review, at least, one beer from every brewery that is brilliant enough to own the Trappist label. This Tripel from Westmalle is one of those beers which we can’t honestly explain why it’s taken us so long to review as it’s a beer, that until now, was constantly overlooked. Cool bottle too, this distinctive ring that protrudes around the neck is very unique and we must admit, something we’ve never seen on any other bottle. OK, on with the review.

We served in to a snifter glass. The cloudy light golden pour arouses a bubbly one and a half finger head which peels off a cm before resting to a thin, foamy covering over the top. Laced well, shedding some thick, soapy residue as we imbibe. The nose is quite conservative for a Belgian Tripel of its strength (9.5% ABV) not as sweet as most of its counterparts as this certain savoury caramel fudge-like feature Is detected initially. A certain candi sugary sweetness is there but it’s held back by wafts of dough, lemonade, herbs, banana, clove, pear, alcohol and white pepper. Still quite traditional…and essentially a very nice aroma. In the mouth it’s quite sharp with the alcohol burn really piercing the tongue. Quite a nice and smooth texture which does help to balance out the ABV. Mild-moderate carbonation. Certainly on the fuller side, really taking its time as it grips on its way down. Sweetness is prevalent upfront, amplified by a firm alcohol presence and citric fruit esters. Some candi sugar develops late as the mid displays some spicy and floral notes that lead on to a herbaceous finish that offers lingering hints of coriander and lemongrass to round it all off. Impressive. Another top shelf brew that can easily be added to the list of benchmark Belgian Tripels. It’s not like the authentic Trappist label is awarded willy nilly, beers of this quality gain the label, and this one definitely deserves it. Classy stuff.

Brasserie St. Feuillien Tripel

Rating:

image“Since 1873, the Friart family has been brewing various beers, among others, the St-Feuillien. But the history of this beer goes back even further. In the 7th century, an Irish monk by the name of Feuillien came to the Continent to preach the Gospel. Unfortunately, in 655, while travelling through the charcoal forest, across the territory of what is now the town of Le Roeulx, Feuillien was martyred and beheaded. On the site of his martyrdom, Feuillien’s disciples erected a chapel which, in 1125 became the Abbey of Prémontrés, but later became known as the Abbaye St-Feuillien du Roeulx. The Abbey prospered until the upheavals of the French Revolution. During these troubled times, it was condemned by the revolutionaries. For centuries, monks have brewed beer and this tradition has been preserved until this very day. Fourth generation of brewers for the Friart family but still the same passion and know-how”.

Served in to a snifter. The slightly hazy golden pour is alive with active carbonation and fine suspended sediments. The heads swells to just over two fingers in height before peeling off about 1cm and retaining. Healthy lace trails are being omitted. What we first like about this aroma is this unique scent of spicy dried tea leaves that is really well blended in to the distinctively Belgian wafts of pear, vanilla, banana lollies, clove and honey. A few deeper sniffs and undertones of black pepper and stone fruits are uncovered. It’s refreshing to smell a Tripel with a slight twist to it. In the mouth it’s light and frothy with medium-high Co2 levels. It’s amazing how these Belgians brew beers so heavy in ABV (this particular one is 8.5%) but manage to keep them so smooth. Upfront we get a honeyed lemon sweetness which is offset by a muted peppery spice and that lovely herbal tea leaf we were talking about in the aroma. The ABV drops in around the mid but it’s well contained as it gradually progresses in to spicy notes and eventually on to a yeasty finish with lingering notes of banana and bready malts. Damn good Tripel. This is actually our first crack at this breweries range and to be honest we’re more than impressed. The base aromas and flavours are there, the high ABV is well disguised and that beautiful injection of spicy tea leaf really finished it off for us. Very nice, we will certainly be keeping an eye out for more of this breweries beers.

Sierra Nevada/monks of the abbey ‘ovila’ abbey tripel

Rating:

imageThis latest edition is a collaboration between famed Sierra nevada brewery and the Monks of the abbey of New clairvaux. Tripels were first created by the belgian monks. We are particularly interested in the flavour profile of this brew, as Sierra Nevada have just recently been placed 3rd in America’s top breweries by the Brewers Association. Firstly we love the old champagne style bottle with the use of cork. Let’s taste!

Poured into a shaker glass as there are no belgian glasses on hand, there is an audible pop as the cork comes out. Lovely champagne style aroma. Pours a golden ale colour with a 20mm thick rigid foam head that retains beautifully. Lots of little carbonated bubble intermixed with bigger bubble. First sip reveals decent booze, with the addition of bready dough, banana, and clove. A good swish around the mouth elicits an alcohol wash over the palate. This brew is sitting at 8.8% so we can understand why. There is mild bitterness here and as you drink we get the impression that this is a pretty smooth drop because the back palate is well balanced. Decent Belgian yeast dominates with sweet malt and sourdough all the way down. Can get glimpses of the famed Sierra nevada malt backbone. Medium body here with mild carbonation on tongue. Definately a drinkable and enjoyable Tripel. Nothing overtly flashy, just true to style.

Moa ‘Special Edition’ Tripel Sauvignon

Rating:

image“A Belgian style Tripel experimental fusion beer where the candi sugar adjunct was replaced with unfermented Sauvignon Blanc grape juice from the 2014 Marlborough harvest. The end result is a beer where the typical Tripel banana and spice fermentation derived characters are complemented by vineous yet fruity and tropical notes.”

This special edition release also came with a rum barrel aged Quadrupel which we reviewed very recently. Unfortunately it was way off the mark for a quad so we’re really hoping this Tripel can restore back some faith. Corked and uncaged then served in to a beer tulip. The appearance offers a bright golden colour with good clarity. The short and compacted white head grew to about 1cm before collapsing on itself, leaving a thin film over the top. Some lacing is left to be seen, but it’s watery and sparse. The aroma is a little restrained for a Tripel, we are getting some delicate wafts of your typical Belgian yeasts – banana, clove, apple/pear and esters but they are slightly outweighed by the wine components – white grapes, stone fruits and lime. To be honest the two characteristics do work well together without any sort of clash. Decent aroma. In the mouth it feels light and oily with mild carbonation. Medium bodied. Very palatable, it seems to breeze down with hardly any grip. Following on from the aroma is, again, another decent display of balance between the sweet Belgian yeasts and the fruity NZ grapes. Initially, like the aroma, flavours of banana, pear, alcohol and muted spice are followed by grapes and stone fruits with a slight Sauvignon-like acidity. The subtle alcohol (9.3%) warmth seems to gel the two combinations together as it finishes light and dry with an emphasis on spice. We would have to give points here for daring to put a spin on a Belgian recipe that’s been brewed the same way for hundreds upon hundreds of years. Unlike the rum barrel quad they have got the balance right. Give me an original Belgian Tripel any day but this spin on a classic style has to be respected. Gutsy, but it’s come off and it is quite a nice beer.

Moa ‘St. Josephs’ Belgian Tripel

Rating:

imageIt’s always a good sign when you check out some stats on a beer and see more than a dozen medals ranging from bronze to gold over a decade have been awarded to it. That’s the case here and it comes as no surprise when we find out that Josh Scott (owner of Moa brewing) has local winemaking royalty in his blood, being the son of a very well known and respected Marlborough winemaker, Allan Scott. This passion for wine comes out in his beer as we take a good look at the bottle – corked and resembling a half bottle of champagne.

We proceed to pop the cork and pour into a wide rimmed tulip glass. We’re met with a hazy, honeyed amber appearance that’s capped off with a short white head which takes about a minute or two to peel away to a fine covering. Wet, streaky lacing is being omitted. Smells wonderful, enough to excite the most seasoned Belgian beer drinker. Big yeasty component here, we pick up lots of oriental spices (clove, star anise, nutmeg) banana, bubblegum, pepper and vanilla initially. A little muted honey sweetness, hints of pear/apple and citrus work nicely in the background. Great start, sticking very true to style and getting it right. Nice and creamy in the mouth with a healthy tickle from the 9.5% ABV. The carbonation is moderate with a beautifully weighted body. Certainly has some good grip on the tongue. Quite complex on the palate, upfront the taste buds are in a frenzy trying to isolate flavours of banana, clove, sweet malts, honey and slightly tart lemon. Incredibly, all these are carried forward through the mid as an evident warming of the mouth is brought on by the alcohol volume. The finish sees a tapering off of the alcohol and a substitution with a sharp and dry peppery spice that endures on the tongue. Damn fine brew here. We love how the brewer has kept true to style but put his little spin on it. Really good drop.

New Belgium ‘Trippel’

Rating:

imageA good American brewery this one, so it’s a safer bet for us as it is easy for non-Belgian brewers to flop when brewing Tripels. This one is brewed with real coriander so we’re interested to see how these guys shape up with this complicated style of brewing.

Served in a beer tulip. The appearance is as clear as day with really active carbonation. Dozens of separate streams rise up to the compact 1 finger head that quickly shrinks down and holds at a very fine covering on top. Lacing is average. Smells good, similar to a Chimay or a La Trappe with it’s firm presence of fruit esters, spicy yeast, pear, coriander, banana bread, clove and orange. Solid aroma. In the mouth it’s quite smooth with a creamy texture. Carbonation is moderate with medium-full body, lightly gripping the tongue on the way down. The flavour is where we get a little bit of the US thrown in as the characteristic Belgian yeasts offer up banana, pear and a peppery spice upfront. A firmer than usual hop bitterness cuts through and is accentuated by a slight alcohol warmth (7.8%) through the mid. A malty sweetness bridges the mid and delivers a fruity finish with a mild, spicy dryness on the rear palate. Good length. We have to give credit to the brewers here they have produced a respectable Tripel. Is it on the same level as a Chimay or a La Trappe? Almost. These guys should be very happy with their brew, we dare say it wouldn’t be easy taking on the Belgians at their own craft.