Category Archives: Tripels

Brouwerij Maallust ‘Zware Jongen’ Tripel


“Meet the Maallust Heavy Guy (Heavy Guy) Triple. It’s a golden yellow, top-fermented beer. This classic triple with a percentage of 9% is heavily hopped and pours a creamy white head. Its taste is spicy and full of malt, with a nice hoppy bitterness in the aftertaste.”

Glassware: Trappist Chalice.

Appearance: Kinda hazy amber/orange with a short white cap. It quickly collapsed to a ring with very little lace in its wake. PS watch your pour as there’s a tonne of suspended sediment.

Aroma: Quite sweet and oily like buttery biscuits. Herbal/grassy Noble hop characters, dried spice, dead leaves/vines, caramel fudge and semi sweet bready malts. Subtle earthy nuances which feed into the ripe apricot and bergamot-like scents. Very different we must say. We’re aware Holland is on the other side of the Belgian border but it may as well be 1000 miles away with this beer.

Flavour: A mirror image of the aroma – sweet with buttery biscuits, caramel fudge and honey but well balanced by the lifted Noble herbs, florals and spice. Finally some yeast esters develop late before a rather dry, herbal and yeasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Pretty well weighted. Smooth texture with a bit of dryness forming in the swallow. Mild-moderate Co2. 8.7% ABV is reasonably well disguised.

Overall: This is our first crack at this Dutch brewery and although it’s far from your classic Belgian interpretation it’s still a pretty decent offering. Would have liked a bit more of the typical yeast qualities coming through. Not bad though.

Corsendonk ‘Agnus’ Tripel


“This beer has hops aromas on the nose with spices and fruit notes. Spice on the palate with well-balanced bitterness lingering in the finish.”

Glassware: Trappist Chalice.

Appearance: Bright golden amber with 100% clarity. It forms a thumb of super fizzy head which collapsed almost instantly. No head = no lace.

Aroma: Nice and crisp with a beautiful yeast profile. All the usual suspects including banana runts, clove, peppery spice, apple and pear supported by semi sweet honey malt, candi sugar, bubblegum and Angostura bitters. Picking up some sweet orange citrus and a bit of a Noble hop grassy/herbal note as well. Quality stuff.

Flavour: Crisp and very nicely balanced. Yeast esters upfront – banana runts, clove, peppery spice moving to orange peel, earthy hops and herbals midway. Apple, pear and Angostura bitters develop late and deliver a somewhat dry spicy/estery finish with some sweet honey malt and wheat grains on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, mineraly, lively carbonation. Medium body with the 7.5% ABV extremely well concealed.

Overall: Without a doubt one of the better traditional Belgian Tripels out there. We’d put it on the same level as Petrus and Korenaar – impressive but not as good as the likes of St.Bernardus or Straffe Hendrik.

Mornington Peninsular Brewery ‘Cabin Fever’ BA Tripel


“In this time of self-isolation we want to ease the cabin fever with this rich brew. Aged in Cognac barrel this massive beer has a yeast-driven complexity with a noticeable malt sweetness.”

Glassware: Trappist tulip.

Appearance: Bold amber with orange highlights. It only manages a short head which slowly peels back to the rim. Decent lace as we go.

Aroma: Hella funky. Kind of has this strange soapy thing going on initially…can’t say whether it’s a byproduct of the barrels or the beer. Maybe a combination of both? It’s uniquely floral with unmistakable green grape and dry white wine qualities from the cognac barrels coming through. Undertones of green apple, dried apricots, mild esters/phenols and young oak. Still slightly undecided.

Flavour: Showing a bit more sweetness which we’re liking. Not before a short cameo of dry white wine and slightly tart green grapes though. A hint of dry woody oak is fused through the delicate notes of dried fruits i.e raisin, apricot and apple/pear leading in to an ultimately complex and warming finish with lingering cognac in the tail.

Mouthfeel: A little slippery with mild-medium body. The lack of body really exposes the burn from the 9% ABV.

Overall: Can’t say we’re at all impressed by this. Apart from the lovely cognac accents the base Tripel is quite ordinary…hardly any conventional aromas and flavours to be found. Pretty cut and dry.

Kasteel Brouwerij ‘Filou’ Tripel


“Filou is a strong blonde beer that is re-fermented in the bottle. Filou is brewed with Belgian and Czech aromatic hops. Therefore this blonde beer offers mild fruitiness and subtle hop bitterness. Filou can be a real rascal, but always without any bad intentions. A friendly beer for everyone!”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Fully transparent bright golden body with two and a bit fingers of finely beaded foam on top. It holds together and works a healthy lace down the glass.

Aroma: Gorgeous wafts of sweet candi sugars meet the olfactory’s. With it comes hints of fairy floss, bubblegum and candied fruits while the yeast throws up its classic trio of banana runts, clove and caramelised pear/apple. There’s a mild floral hop note alongside undertones of fresh vanilla bean, orange citrus and a crusty/bready malt structure. We like!

Flavour: Quite floral upfront. Getting earthy pot pourri notes which feeds back in to the floral accents. Syrupy honey, orange citrus and toffee apple also getting amongst it. Some dry hop bitterness through the mid and a bit of warmth from the booze adding to the sharpness there. Classic Tripel finish – full of esters, artificial sweetness and spice.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and zingy. Medium body and perfectly carbonated. 8.5% ABV shows a little but it’s hidden well enough.

Overall: Fairly decent. Not one of the more memorable ones but it certainly holds its own.

Grimbergen Tripel


“The pale malts used give this tripel its deep, ocher colour. Grimbergen Tripel has a bittersweet, spicy and extremely round flavor. The typical spicyness is created by using blonde candy sugar and the subtle mix of soft and bitter hop varieties. The secondary fermentation gives the flavour bouquet a perfect harmony. You’ll especially appreciate the perfect aftertaste of this beer.”

 Glassware: Trappist tulip.

Appearance: Clear golden complexion with a massive four finger head. It slowly peels off and leaves an absolute mess on the glass.

Aroma: Getting a real peppery champagne-like quality from it initially. Lots of yeast esters as any good Tripel should (pot pourri, bubblegum, banana runts, clove). Really showing a lot of Saison characters of hay, Angostura bitters and farmyard funk. Coriander, parsley, candied lemon, bush honey, syrupy malts and vanilla rounds out an extremely well layered aroma.

Flavour: Kind of follows the nose with the super champagne-like fizzyness, yeast-driven notes of banana, candied lemon, dank herbs (coriander, parsley), peppery spice and Angostura bitters. Slightly funky and musky through the mid as it sets a platform for a spicy, lemony and mildly dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Quite frothy, aerated and dry. Highly carbonated. Mild-medium body. The 9% ABV is well disguised.

Overall: We want to like this Tripel, we really do but it just doesn’t stack up against the likes of St.Bernardus or Straffe Hendrik. Certainly gets points for being a little outside the square but ultimately there’s better Tripels out there

St.Bernardus Tripel


“St. Bernardus Tripel is a traditional abbey beer that follows the classic tripel style. In the Watou region a tripel is often referred to as a ‘Bernadetje’. A fine tribute that pays homage to Bernadette, the youngest daughter of Evariste Deconinck, the man to whom the monks of Abbaye Sainte Marie du Mont des Cats sold their Belgian property in 1934.”

Glassware: Trappist tulip.

Appearance: Slightly hazy honey gold with a fluffy two finger cap. Excellent retention and lacing as it ebbs.

Aroma: 100% real deal Belgian Tripel complete with all the bells and whistles – honeyed malt, yeast esters (banana runts, clove, apple pie) farmyard funk, wheat, orange/rind, peppery spice and grassy herbs. And lots of florals! About as traditional as you can get. Love it!

Flavour: Follows on from the nose…brilliantly balanced honey malt sweetness with the yeast esters – banana runts, clove, apple/pear, pepper – working in harmony. Subtle Noble hop grassiness, herbals and mild bitterness also contributing to the outstanding balance. Super yeasty, fruity and herbaceous finish with ample length.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, gassy, but well rounded. High Co2 adds to the frothy texture. Medium body. 8% ABV is incredibly well concealed.

Overall: Over the last couple of years we’ve been hunting for non-Belgian Trappist-style ales (Dubbel, Tripel, Quad) with very few making the cut i.e Unibroue, Boulevard and Allagash to name a few. It’s so good to taste a classic Belgian brewed Tripel again. Oh we’ve missed it! This is sensational.

3 Fonteinen ‘Tuverbol’ BA Blended Lambic

74692560_1204745393042937_2072840397750534144_o“Tuverbol is a blend of 3 Fonteinen Lambic and Loterbol Blond Beer. Mix of 9/10 strong Triple-like Blond top fermenting ale, brewed at Duysters, with 1/10 Lambic from 3 Fonteinen.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Hazy burnished orange with a short and fizzy cap which reduced quite quickly. Moderate lace clings to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Even though the blend of Lambic is 1/10 it still packs a punch. Generous wafts of candied lemon/sherbet, yeasty spice, dried apricots and various stonefruit accents alongside more subtle hints of bretty/sweaty funk, pear, semi sweet malts, and mild white wine vinegar. Loving this aroma…complex and layered yet light and fruity.

Flavour: Much like the aroma with its strong Lambic but we will admit the slightly sweeter fruits and apple/pear also come on quite nicely. Tasting lots of yeasty phenols and earthy spices, musty and dry woody notes, slightly warming booze, pithy orange peel and then on to unripened apricot and stonefruits in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light on and aerated…boosted further by the lifted CO2. A rather subdued pucker so it scores a modest 2.5/5. 10% ABV – although discernible at times it’s fairly well concealed.

Overall: Looking back the Lambic was strong initially but the Blond characters started to take over as it warmed. Love the creativity but it’s the pin point execution that wins us over. Decent offering.

Mornington Peninsula Brewery 2016 ‘Cheviot’ BA Tripel

50878259_1027513507432794_2922061719725408256_n“Cheviot is a strong Belgian Tripel offering a complex spiciness and assertive fruitcake flavours. 10 months ageing in Shiraz barrels add an extra layer of vanilla and oak intensity, followed by lingering notes of strawberry jam to deliver a decadent beer worthy of savouring.”

Glassware: Trappist tulip.

Appearance: It pours a bright and bold amber hue with a short head perched on top. There’s a gradual reduction but still a fine lace is carved out on the glass.

Aroma: Very interesting. Very intricate too we might add. The 10 months in Shiraz barrels have had a great effect on the beer in the way that it really showcases those juicy blackcurrant and strawberry notes along with French oak, spice and plums. We get a lot of mixed spirits coming through too – rum, brandy and a hint of bourbon are the most dominant. Fantastic aroma.

Flavour: Initially we couldn’t pick up any Tripel qualities but they’ve actually been fabulously interwoven through the fruity, spicy and liquer-ish notes very well. There’s a bunch of flavours we just can’t put our finger on but they taste something like Cadbury’s fruit & nut, cherry taffy and some kind of earthy berry like mulberry.

Mouthfeel: Quite full and chewy yet it’s far from being heavy. Mild-moderate co2 with an adequate warmth from the 9.5% AbV.

Overall: It’s actually a difficult beer to summise. In short it’s a complex little number that deserves more credit than it gets. It’s quite an impressive drop.

Six String Brewing ‘Four’ Belgian Tripel

266AA8EB-6B10-4682-9388-D63C963281FEGlassware: Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Exceptionally clear deep yellow with a bubbly white head that is already clinging to the glass as it slowly but surely recedes. Ends up a rim of tightly packed small bubbles. Carbonation clearly seen but not excessive.

Aroma: Has a defining lager/Pilsner like nose that when warms up slightly yields honey, subdued caramel sweetness, background Belgian yeast, bread/dough, some banana, bubblegum, pear and crackers. It’s all very light on though. As the brew warms up there is a distinct liquor like floral complexity to it which is rather pleasant.

Flavour: Whoa the Flavour! Just hits you in the face. Big step up from the aroma. A bit of booze (9.5%) laces the palate, alongside sweet caramels, Belgian bread yeast, pear, something musty or earthy like damp soil, some bitterness but it’s low and interwoven with the touch of spicy malt and champagne like drying finish.

Mouthfeel: IBU here is 26. For the alc vol of 9.5% the body is medium and quite drinkable. A decent swish around the mouth elicits booze-like heat, a dryness and yeasty flavoured carbonation. Decent length..keeps on going long after the last sip. Like Debbie does to speak.

Overall: It’s a nice drop (434/860 brewed). Served in a champagne bottle and cool artwork it’s an eye catcher when perusing the vast ocean of good craft beer bottle O’s. Would we buy again? Not really..not a stand out. That’s not to say it’s not enjoyable. This is just a lot of beer in a bottle. Serve among friends.


Allagash Brewing Co. Belgian Tripel

36359948_885029425014537_1233450968880775168_n“This strong golden ale carries herbal notes and passion fruit in the aroma. Suggestions of honey and biscuit are found in Tripel’s complex, varied palate. Brewed with our 2-row barley blend, hopped with Nugget and Hallertau, then fermented on our house yeast, Tripel lingers on the palate for a complex, dry finish.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Pale golden which whips up a big and frothy three finger head that persists. Excellent retention and tonnes of lace clinging to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Really hitting those traditional Tripel notes nicely. Lots of yeasty phenols, sweet malts, spice, herbal hops, honey, clove, banana runts and orange peel. Somewhat of a barnyard character going on in here – a mix of spice, hay and wheaty grains. Very subtle hints of lemon pie, pear/apple and light florals for good measure! Incredibly aromatic.

Flavour: Quite a complex fusion on entry. Yeasty phenols, semi sweet malt, candied lemons and herbal hops meet with peppery spice, honey and banana in the middle. There’s a subtle hop bitterness developing late in the piece with bubblegum, orange peel, spice and pear riding it out on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Spritzy texture, medium body and medium-high carbonation. 18 IBU’s and 9.2% ABV which is quite well concealed we must say.

Overall: A rather fine interpretation that was worth muling back from the States. Nicely balanced too – we find a lot of brewers either go too dry or too sweet but this one is well measured. This is our first crack at this breweries range and we kinda wish they were more accessible here in Australia. Solid drop.

Boatrocker Brewing Co. Tripel

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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

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

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

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.