This one comes in the style of an Abbey Tripel, 750ml bottle. Generally, what you’ll find in this style is:
1. High alcohol content, usually in the 7-9% ABV range.
2. Honeyed fruits up front ebbing to a peppery dry finish with moderate hop bitterness.
3. Light cloud-like mouthfeel, they don’t feel like “big beers.”
4. Classy beers served in chalices that often hold massive appeal to women and pair with pretty much everything, from salad to dessert.
After an intense cork-pop, I poured this into a St Bernardus balloon goblet after a really strong cork-popping. I see a decent head of fine, small bubbles that seem to do a very good job of replenishment; there are quite a few streamers from the bottom and sides of the glass. The body is hazy gold, with a few tiny flecks of sediment floating around – an attractive beer, as tripels often are.
I’m getting candied pear and apple in the nose. Smells very sweet. Maybe a hint of nag champa if I dig. Starts to get a little solvent-y as it warms, which is undesirable – so I’ll ding it a point. I’m surprised, though, because usually if there is solvent to smell, I smell it right away when it’s cold, and that subsides when it warms. Seems backward.
As is often the case with this style, it may smell sweet but isn’t really at all on the palate. Fleeting hit of honeycomb and coconut that goes to the requisite yeasty, dry, biting peppery-clove finish. Relatively bitter, though from hops or phenolics I’m not sure, probably both. I’m kind of surprised that this was brewed at De Proef, because it doesn’t have any of the funky fruit esters the house yeast often throws off in other beers. Except for the idea that I don’t find it very fruity, this could be a benchmark tripel. I’ll rate it only slightly above average, though, due to my thinking it could use more fruit flavors. Also seems to come unglued a little as it warms with too much alcohol presence.
Excellent smooth but effervescent mouthfeel.
I saw myself rating this higher, but I’m not crazy about the way the alcohol presents itself as it warms. At a colder temp, I thought it was very good, but I don’t necessarily want to huff a 7.5% tripel just so I can drink it before it gets warm.
A creamy cheese would be a slam-dunk pairing, but I could see this really shining with a coconut dessert, maybe a coconut pudding. Alternatively, any fish or other seafood dish would work as well – tripels are the “white wines of the beer world,” and are very versatile, so I would encourage readers to experiment with them. Also, as I said, (and I don’t mean to be sexist at all) women LOVE Tripels. They are classy, light in color and mouthfeel, high in alcohol, and they have that little hit of sweetness before going bone-dry. This particular Tripel is not available in South Florida, but here are some notable examples that are readily available in our finer grocery stores, liquor stores and bars:
Chimay Cinq Cents (white label)
St. Bernardus Tripel
Overall Impression 3.5
Weighted Average 3.65
Beer Advocate 3.89