Blackcurrant and plum tripel; can given to me by Jez for Christmas. Tried and reviewed live into this website as a reward after mowing the lawn on a hot day. Because you should totally fucking drink fucking big Belgian beers after mowing the lawn, you fuck.
Pours a deep amber colour, slight tinge of red but not the vibrant kind of colour you might expect from blackcurrant and/or plum additions. Head is lovely when poured, it sinks steadily but leaves some absolutely knockout lacing behind, thick tendrils of white foam that forms an abstract work of art on the glass. Nice dense foam to the head as well even if it's just a thin crown by now. Looks superb.
Smelled a bit rank when I was pouring it; up close it's not unpleasant but it's a pretty pungent fruit aroma; the plum is more dominant (thankfully) than the blackcurrant which still lends a candy sweetness to the fragrance but without taking over. Distinct phenolic characters as well that ground the sweet fruit but also clash with it a little bit and that's where that rankness comes in: it's very sweet but there's an earthy kind of aroma as well which gives the whole thing a hint of rotten compost. It's not bad in the finer details but there's something a little off-putting about it.
Taste is really quite sour, actually, and it's an odd thing really because it's clearly a big-ass beer, and the tartness comes from the fruit, but the end result with the phenols and Belgian spice notes comes across a little lambic-esque. But without the particular lambic bug characters. It starts out fairly predictably, giving a big rich plum note but also plenty of sweet blackcurrant character that continues to the mid-palate. Some malt starts rising up that adds body but also grounds the sweetness in more familiar beer territory and stops it floating off into fruit-juice land. The fruity notes then join with a phenolic spice and a rising ethyl booze character late so it ends up being fairly tart with a drying, slightly raspy mouthfeel largely from the effect of the alcohol. The tartness also doesn't linger like it would on a proper sour, in fact the finish is slightly short with the fruit sourness just fading away and a faint lingering earthy bitterness hangs around for a short coda. All up it's not a bad experience drinking it, but I feel it leans a little too heavily on the fruit and could use more complexity from the Belgian yeast and possibly some more distinct bitter-hopping as well.
Mouthfeel is very nice notwithstanding the booze. The body is full and very smooth, with a nice coating from the residual sugars that helps pad out the booze. The booze is more of a flavour than a physical sensation and that's a positive thing.
I don't know if I've had a tripel or a strong Belgian style from To Øl (I could look it up but I can't be bothered) but I feel I'd like to try this without the fruit being so central. Or possibly with a subtler fruit adjunct than blackcurrant. It's pretty nice, but it's a little too fruity and tangy for my liking.
33cl brown bottle purchased as part of a bulk order with some workmates.
Pours a rather dull golden colour, with a fine ring of white that leaves specks of lace. Carbonation is very fine, and the body is rather light for 10% ABV. As, honestly, it should be for a tripel. Looks decent enough.
Nose is okay, but gives me pause in which to give it a bit of the ol' side-eye. There's a yeasty deadness to it—it smells a bit like the bottom of a pond—but it manages to link this quite successfully to an oak and vinous character. So it feels intentional, all the earthiness. It's certainly not the vibrant, aromatic beer that the best tripels are.
Taste is similar. There's a generic Belgian character, that traipses along between the lines of sour and aromatic, but perhaps with a couple of missteps here and there this time. It's quite earthy at the back, but with a persistent sweetness that lends some of those stewed tomato characters you get in a good tripel. Here, though, they're kind of sickly. Hmm.
Feel is actually quite thick and chewy. It's not right for this beer as far as I'm concerned. But it certainly lacks heat, which is a positive.
Overall, I'm honestly not a huge fan. It's too sweet, not balanced enough, and overall too flat. There should be complexity to discover but it's always dragged down by its sweetness. So it has a base level of goodness to it, but it doesn't in anyway reach its potential.
Bottle given to me by Jez for Christmas, reviewed by myself on a Saturday night.
Pours a pale orange colour, clear. Head is white, foamy, sinks quite quickly but retains a nice little crown of lace. Looks pretty standard, could have used a bit more head.
Smells wild, phenolic. Good spice with a fair piquancy and a large dose of barnyard. Some oaky vinous characters as well; woody, fruity and herbal with a big undergrowth character.tart and fertile overall, very refreshing and complex and nicely Belgian.
Taste is tart and yet bitter as well. Big boozey character even on the front that gets drowned in acidity, with some grapefruit and young Riesling character. Develops some rindy bitterness midway, and then some phenolic character late. Finishes dry, somewhat woody and actually quite tart, which is a nice cleanser after that bitter mid-palate. Still quite vinous with a slight tannic side note. Develops a good fruity complexity as it warms up a bit more. Pretty decent.
Mouthfeel is a little tart and somewhat foamy. Little too much carbonation for the style, gets a bit prickly.
Nice drinking beer for the size. The tartness freshens it up and cleanses but it's quite a big and ballsy Belgian style drop otherwise.
57 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased as part of a bulk order with some workmates. Bottled in January 2016, so over a year old.
Pours a rather hazy deep golden colour, with a coarse, crackling head of pure white, fed by some swift carbonation. Body is quite light and clearly well-attenuated. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is relatively pleasant. There's a pleasing savoury character that comes through from some combination of malt and yeast. The hops have dropped a little, but that's not unexpected for a beer of this age. The booze is sharp though, and gives a slight solvent character, softened somewhat by the Belgian yeast presence, which gives some rounded, aromatic sweetness.
Taste is similar. It starts out with a very pleasant savoury malt structure, with sweet and toasty notes and a slight bite of carbonation. On the back though, the booze is very prominent, with a sharp, metallic note and a slight astringency. Bitterness is somewhat controlled, but it also doesn't hide some of the more challenging boozy notes either. Feel is light-bodied, but quite heavy on the carbonation.
I'm always a little skeptical of tripels not made in Belgium, and there's nothing in this beer to challenge my skepticism. It has, maybe, the outline of the style right, but it's not crafted in such a way to make it coherent and palatable. As a result, it's only so good, and slightly unpleasant.
69 / 100
Bottle given to me by Jez for Christmas, enjoyed by myself one Saturday night.
Pours a pale champagne colour with furious champagney bead. Head is also champagney, in that it's white and very effervescent, but sticks around with this nice pillow of thick billowy foam on the top. Lacing clings to the side of the glass gloriously. Looks like normal Duvel - i.e superb.
Smells Belgian, with plenty of warmth, boozey phenols but a light floral hop note floating atop it. Slightly citric and fruity, but mostly floral with a slight medicinal edge at the back. Could use a bit more oomph from the Belgian notes as it seems a little watered down from the light character of the hops.
Taste is definitely more ballsy. Big brandy booze character with grainy malt creates a big sensation on the front. Hops come through midway, giving citrus and a light pine wood note and then lingering with all these floral complexities that could be nice, but with the lingering malt sweetness they take on a very saccharine candy sort of note. Instead of the Belgian phenolic booze anchoring it, it sort of floats up to the top of the palate and doesn't stay grounded, which is a shame. I think it could work but it needs more spice ormore earth because it's overall just a touch sweet for my taste.
Foamy upfront, quite hot and raw from the booze warmth towards the back. Could use a bit more of that raw power on the palate as it feels a bit strong and out of place for how light and sweet the palate is.
Yeah, I'm afraid I have to compare it unfavourably to the original Duvel, as most beers would be. But here it has all the hallmarks but just lessens their impact with a hop bill that feels too airy-fairy and sweet for what is actually an incredibly complex and challenging base beer, for all its paleness and approachability.
84 / 100
Bottle gifted to me by Jez, sampled and live-reviewed 16/09/16. Photo taken from my webcam. I'm doing everything on this laptop. Except spilling the beer amifuckinrite??
Pours a vibrant orange colour. Vivid and opaque. Head is Belgian; foams up slowly but voluminously, off-white in colour with a slightly jaundiced tinge. Gorgeous silky texture on the top, webbed bubbles around the edge that leaves ghostly webs of lace behind. Looks gorgeous.
Smells lovely, too. Big funky barnyard note, slightly tart that melds beautifully with a tangy citrus orange note. Grassy, mildly spicy with green peppercorn piquancy but a sweet vanilla character as well. Green apple, cumquat as well. Gorgeous blend of funk, sweet notes that somehow manages to be both savoury and desserty simultaneously. Weird and wonderful.
Taste is pretty tasty, although there are troughs of really quite emphatic flavour that feel a little heavy. Tangy upfront, with a big citrus character - lemon and orange mostly and a touch of that cumquat. Develops some funky earthy notes midway with some fresh cut grass and a fair phenolic bitterness that leads into the back, which gets slightly medicinal, with a touch of brandy and a big peppery spice as well. Hint of sweetness on the back too which goes with that brandy note. The slight tartness upfront could be utilised well on the back too, just to freshen it, but the big Belgian tripel notes are still well constructed and finish big without being overly heavy. Still, the funkiness upfront just makes you realise how delicious it could be with a refreshing zing on the finish.
Mouthfeel is decent, with a big booziness that seems quite big, but that silkiness from the head seems present here on the texture as well. Decently bodied beer.
Drinks excellently. Big flavours, wonderfully complex tripel with an amazing blend between traditional phenolic Belgian notes and a big Bretty funkiness. Could be a complex aperitif or a dessert accompaniment equally well. Would also go great with most white meat dishes.
69 / 100
330ml brown bottle. Bottling date of July 2015, stated to last until 2018.
Pours a hazy orange colour, quite thick in the body but with surprisingly coarse-bubbled carbonation. This feeds into the head as well, which is large, but formed of loose bubbles that collapse fairly swiftly. Some mild sheeting lace. Looks decent.
Nose is a little odd, but not unpleasant. There's a smoothness to it, giving aromas of vanilla and even some coconut, above some dry, slightly spicy Belgian yeast notes. There's a leafy sweetness to it, like fruit offcuts perhaps. And there's some oddly rich malt, giving it a broad base that's not typical for a tripel. All up, pretty decent though.
The palate is nicely put together. There's some spice on the front, which develops into a slightly medicinal heat from the booze towards the back. This is well supported though, with smooth sweetness: not the vanilla and coconut suggested on the nose, but a firm, slightly toffeed malt that works with some mild yeast notes to develop a fruitiness. The balance is good, although you can still feel the heat and tingle from the alcohol.
Overall, it's pretty decent. It doesn't reach the upper echelons of the style, but it's a fair crack at it. At the very least it maintains balance and keeps itself drinkable, which can be difficult in a style with this combination of strength and subtlety.
60 / 100
Tripel brewed with rosewater for GABS 2016. Tried at the festival on tap.
Pours an amber colour, slightly cloudy but no head. Ring of cream-coloured bubbles. Fairly meh.
Smells nutty upfront, and fairly Belgian. Chestnut notes, slightly sweet that leads into medicinal notes and a touch of spice. Not much to it and certainly don't get much rose.
Taste is also fairly Belgian and medicinal. Vanilla sweetness upfront that transitions nicely into phenolic medicinal notes. Rosewater comes through nicely on the back; having homebrewed successfully with rosewater I know how powerful a flavour it is, not to be used liberally. And this is fairly nice, just sweetens up the back and works well with the phenolic characters though it makes it quite heavy-going. This will be an acquired taste but it works fine for me.
Full body, fair presence of alcohol but warming and pleasant.
The floral character is well-used, but it does need something to cut through more on the finish, as the phenolic-rosewater character is quite heavy.
77 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer for me by Sarah.
Pours a beautifully clear, very pale golden colour, intentionally with the yeast left in the bottle. Head is a suitably broad, frothy mess of white that leaves specks of coarse-bubbled lacing. Carbonation streams with champagne-like refinement. It's a fine-looking brew.
Nose is excellent. It has demi-sec yeast notes giving it a slight toasty, crusty bread character, that's then lifted beautifully by the hop notes. These are dynamic and purposeful, working well with the yeast notes to provide additional breadth, and characters of freshly cut herbs, rubbed lemon and grass. As it warms, the sweetness of the beer becomes a little more apparent, but there's a concomitant peppery character from the hops which provides balance. It's very nice.
Taste is very refined. There's a lightness to the body that's reminiscent of champagne, but the yeast notes provide a slight savoury edge and some deeper fruit overtones. Hops are slightly muted here: there is a slight peppery kick on the back, which must at least partially be due to yeast and booze, but the hops accentuate and demarcate these notes as well. Finish is dry, with a slight taste of booze, but far from an overt heat or aggression. Everything is well balanced from front to back.
Overall, it's a really well-made beer, with the hops providing a pleasant point of difference to an already fine brew. I've probably had better iterations of the Tripel Hop, but it doesn't matter—I still find this regular release fascinating and engaging every time I have it.
45 / 100
On tap at GABS 2016.
Pours a very pale colour for the style, translucent even. Touch of cloud in spite of this. Head is disappointingly absent. Not impressive.
Smells grainy and sweet to begin with and then yeasty. Just very very phenolic but it has a cloying character as well as some weird savoury characters. Not ideal.
Taste is similar. Quite sweet upfront and then descends quickly into a big Belgian character that is a bit overpowering with very little subtlety or nuance. Bready yeast character, phenolic and medicinal to finish. It's in the ballpark of the tripel style but it blanches out the nice and complex fruity esters you could have and just dials up the more unpleasant bitterness. Nasty.
Body is full and well-padded. Noticeable alcohol warmth which is the most pleasant part of it really.
Has a big cough medicine character. Really fairly distasteful, and it's a bit of a shame. Haven't really been caught up with what's happening at Temple but they definitely seem to have lost their mojo, or at least slipped up on this one.
Bottle gifted me by Jez, shared with folks on NYE.
Pours a dark red, clear with large bubbles. Head is beige, not a lot to it. Lace is decent. Not bad.
Smells roasty, malty and fairly phenolic. Touch of spice. But yeah largely maltgasmic, sweet with vinous notes as well. Vinous, slightly tart. Redcurrants, some raisins. Decent.
Taste is fairly dark-fruity, somewhat medicinal. Phenolic, spicy. Touch boozey late on the palate. Yeah, mostly fruity then a vinous, sherry-like flavour midway. Finishes a little hot and boozey. Medicinal too, remains fairly sweet. Bit heavy but good flavours.
Dryish, mildly boozey. Otherwise fluid.
Decent tripel flavours, I don't get much from it being red though. Maybe some additional curranty esters. But apart from the whole Red Hill-Red Beer gimmick I'd be perfectly happy if this were just a normal-coloured tripel; I just don't think they've put enough of a twist on the beer itself.
1.5L bottle bought by Dad for my birthday. Opened and shared indiscriminately with as many people as possible at a BBQ.
Pours a pale gold with some cloud. Big, thick pillowy head that resembles marshmallow. Sinks unevenly and beautifully. Looks great.
Smells boozey, spicy; somewhat dry. Marmalade with a touch of apricot, pepper, and some oatmeal. Decent; to style.
Taste is fruity-jammy upfront, peach and orange notes then some bergamot midway. Gets boozey late-mid, slightly sharp and astringently bitter-boozey late. Nice integration at first, but a bit warm late, seems a bit off-kilter and could use some more spice esters perhaps, to dry it up a bit more. Otherwise decent.
Smooth, somewhat dry and very warm. OK body though.
I like it well enough, I like a good tripel, but it just seems a bit unbalanced - booze without flavour towards the back.
76 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars. This is a Tripel brewed with candi sugar made from botrytised Viognier from Some Young Punks, in some kind of twisted collaboration.
Pours a deep, heavy and murky off-orange colour, with an extremely thick body. Head has trouble forming at all, mostly, I feel, because the body is too thick that the carbonation just can't be arsed. What does result is a very, very thin, fine ring of white around the edges, that against all odds leaves some streaks of fine lace. Carbonation is very fine and powdery, and almost static when tilted—again, it just can't be fucked moving through the thickness. Looks good.
Nose is immediately hit with a sticky dessert-wine sweetness—they've definitely got the character in here. But it's also laced with a slightly solvent alcohol character that gives it a real kick in the nostrils. Deep sweet tones almost lend a little character of tomato to the mix. As it warms, the booze becomes even more noticeable. It's utterly unique at least, and I'm appreciative of the fact that they definitely have the botrytis character to it.
Taste is, initially, disappointing. It's probably because my mind is expecting some kind of dessert wine sweetness, and this seems a lot more savoury and dry, and balances the botrytis character with a bitterness rather than the expected acidity. But, once you recalibrate there's a lot to enjoy: smooth entry leads to a blossoming of vinous booze towards the mid-palate, backed up finally by a firm malt note. It's grainy to some extent, but also accentuates the savoury character, especially as those odd tomato notes come through on the back along with a vague yeasty flavour. It's extremely complex, no doubt—and it's impressive that so many of the characters get a chance to express themselves.
Feel is slick but thick—despite the obvious weight to it, it manages to stay sleek and drinkable.
Overall, this is impressive stuff. I tried one of the Spoonbender Series beers from YB at GABS in 2014, but either it wasn't this one, or it has developed very well in the time since then—the one I tried certainly didn't leave the impression on me that this one did. This is the sort of beer you should sit down with and experience in its fullness.
62 / 100
500ml brown bottle, ostensibly #288/500 purchased from Barny's in Alexandria.
Pours a clear, deep golden colour, almost with chestnut hints to it. Head is initially quite coarse bubbled and frothy, but actually settles down into finer bubbles in a surprisingly creamy cap. Lace is patchy. Body is light but smooth, and the carbonation is coarse but quite languid. Looks good.
Nose is quite pleasant, but quite light. Some mild sugary sweetness mingles with a crisp clean aroma with suggestions of green apple juice and lightly chlorinated water. The Belgian esters you might expect are fairly muted, but there is a mild fruity spice to it, especially as it warms. Decent stuff.
Taste is definitely more spicy, and with a definite kick of booze. Initial entry gives a slight cinnamon or allspice bite that's quickly washed away by the apple juice character—here it becomes more like applejack with the booze. This lends a bitter, rather astringent flavour on the back the finally coalesces to a surprisingly biscuity or nutty finish, oddly enough. Feel is hot with the booze, but clean enough to not add more power to it at least.
Overall, it's certainly got some weight behind it. I don't consider it one of my favourite tripels by a long way, but it's certainly good to see Aussie brewers making a stab at what can be a tricky style. This is a bit too hot and unbalanced to be really good, but it's certainly got some oomph to it at least.
A tripel aged in a Scottish whiskey barrel once home to Aurora Borealis brewed in Norway at Nøgne Ø. Tried on-tap at GABS 2014 in Melbourne.
Pours a pale golden colour, fairly clear and light in the body. Head is white and forms a coarse ring of bubbles in the glass. Almost no lace, and almost no carbonation. It looks a little underwhelming.
Mild vinous acidity comes through on the nose, with oak and a touch of brett character. Some fragrant fruit notes are also noticeable, with a little peach, green apple and a touch of seawater. Interesting.
Light, briny entry on the palate with a dollop of minerally Scotch. Some bretty acid funk comes through, but not a lot. Vinous tart notes are noticeable in the mid-palate, but these dry up, leaving the back feeling a little flabby and sweet, with yeasty tones and a long, lingering grain character. Some overlay of acidity in the aftertaste, but not a lot. It certainly lacks some wood notes and the acidity is a little piecemeal.
Feel is smooth and light—it actually works reasonably well.
Overall, it's only really okay, when it really should have been pretty spectacular. It needed perhaps a little coherence to it, or a bit more oak to smooth out the rough edges. As it is, it will always just stay as something of a wild experiment.
Tried on-tap at the Royal Albert Hotel as part of their Bridge Road takeover. I tried this and a hand-pull of the Borealis I at the same time. They're significantly different beers, but it was good to remind myself that the Borealis I was such a phenomenal beer, because this is very different, and certainly less impressive.
Pours a pale amber colour, almost golden in the right light, and rather light in the body. Head forms as a sudsy but frothy mass of off-white that leaves good, messy lace. It looks a little like a handpump, even though it's not. Body is light, as I said, but it has a smoothness to it. It's not bad looking, certainly.
Nose is fairly simple: much more simple than I was expecting. Slightly sweet and with a thinness that comes from the lighter body. Booze definitely comes through, with a little of the brandy character and some cherry overtones. With the booziness, this gives it a kirsch character. Not a huge amount happening, mostly because the cognac takes over, but it's not bad.
Palate is light and clean on entry, but quickly devolves into a fairly big boozy mess. More of that cherry-and-kirsch sharpness, more solvent alcohol and a whack of pepper. There's actually not a lot of complexity to the beer, meaning it survives almost entirely on the booze, which end up tasting a little harsh. The palate sticks around for a long time, which would be good if there were things to explore, but instead, it feels as though the booze just keeps harshing my buzz. There's a spiciness to the feel which I can appreciate, but the beer needs something more substantial.
Overall, I hate to write this off as a beer that's boozy without purpose, but that's how it feels. There's not the depth of flavour, or the complexity, or the richness, or... anything to support it being as big and boozy as it is. In the end it feels like I'm drinking something huge without really knowing why. It's nowhere near as good as #1, which was without a doubt one of the best beer I drank in 2013. As a result of expectations, I'm tragically disappointed by this one.
60 / 100
750ml caged and corked (and oddly tapered bottle), shared with Rich and Sam.
Uncorks with a sucking thunk, and pours a pleasantly clear but deep, dark golden colour, with a massive head fed by lots of carbonation. Body is pretty heavy, but fluid, and the carbonation, while slightly static when tilted, it pretty coarse. Some streaking lace. Looks okay.
Nose is odd. Some estery notes, but a rather pronounced wort character as well, and a suggestion of solvent.Yeast notes are rather muted overall, and the sweetness is higher than I expected. There's also a hint of wood, which actually doesn't work all that well with the other things going on. Okay, but not great.
Taste is a little better: here the extra sweetness at least gives a bit of body to hide the booziness. Mild chewing gum flavours on the mid palate with a suggestion of bright hops or spices—perhaps a touch of feijoa. Finish is mild: the spicy note of booze never gets to be too much. In the end, it's pretty tasty, although not as complex or impressive as all the fanfare and packaging makes it out to be.
Feel is pretty good: slick but light, while supporting the booziness so it doesn't get too intense.
Overall, this is fairly solid stuff. I've had Tripels that are almost undrinkable because of the solvent booze, and this is certainly better crafted than they are. This is smooth for the most part, and relatively drinkable. Not something I'd particular go out of my way to try again, but certainly something worth trying once.
22oz bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Brought back to Sydney and shared with my brother Sam.
Pours a pretty deep golden colour, hinting towards a coppery tone, with a fairly fine head of shiny white that leaves intricate lace. Body is firm and bold and hold masses of tiny carbonation. Looks good.
Yep, nose has feijoa alright, and it's a distinctive smell, somewhere between lime and banana. It's fresh and bright, and very fruit-forward. There's a mild toffee sweetness behind it, perhaps a little Belgian yeast note, but not a lot from the tripel side of the equation. Still the fruit is really well done, and it certainly delivers what it promises.
Taste is also full of fruit, giving pithy flesh, more tropical notes and a tartness that attaches itself to some of the phenolic characters from the yeast. Carbonation gives a fine tingle, but also adds to an already fairly pronounced acidity. Finish is long with lingering underripe fruit and a slight vegetative organic finish.
Overall, this is very interesting: and the feijoa is really well showcased here. I'm not sure if you'd do much better than this in using that particular fruit in a beer.
88 / 100
It has been many years since I first reviewed this beer, and much as it stands as one of my fondest beer memories, times change, palates change, and I feel now that the scores I originally gave it (close to a perfect 5) will now be tempered by experience and maturity. This was a 330ml bottle purchased from Steve's Cool Booze in Kingsford, probably a similar type of location to where I tried my first bottle.
Pours a hazed pale golden colour with the trademark expressive and voluminous head of white bubbles that eventually settle out to a half-centimetre of foam across the top. Some streaks of lace as it goes, but not a lot. Body is very fluid and light and holds rather large-bubbled carbonation.
Nose is fresh and bright, but caressed with those Belgian yeast esters that round it out and provide some sweetness and a little earthiness. Some smooth vanilla tones, a little bit of blunted citrus, clove and a slight peppery note. It's still exceptionally fragrant and extremely complex. Lovely stuff.
Taste is also extremely good. Big smooth body allows a creaminess to permeate throughout the palate, while bright, slightly peppery tones provide colour and sparkle. Despite this, it never in the slightest feels astringent, spicy or hot with booze, and there's a restraint permeating everything: it makes it superbly drinkable despite the complexities and the alcohol. On the back there's just a suggestion of acidity to clean out the palate and provide a satisfying conclusion.
Feel is wonderful. Smooth but light, seemingly full and crisp at the same time. What sort of alchemy is this?
Overall: wow. I actually expected my scores to go down a whole lot from my first review, and they haven't really dropped significantly at all. I'll admit it has been some time since I last drank a Karmeliet, and so maybe I'd just forgotten what a truly wonderful beer this is. Truly, truly excellent.
Old review from 2005-02-19:
Cloudy deep orange amber body with a massive head that billows up no matter how carefully you pour it. It's creamy and beautiful.
Just wonderful nose. Penetrating sweet oranges, what malt, that gorgeous Belgian yeast which seems to stand out all the more in tripels.
Rich and beautiful.
The taste is just divine. Sweetness or syrup perfectly balanced with a lemony sourness and hops bitterness. It stays around for ages, exploring your whole mouth with its plethora of subtle flavours. It's almost impossible to put into words. You can only experience this beer, you can't describe it. This is truly, truly wonderful.
Overall, this is a brilliant beer. One of the best I've ever tasted.
A: 5, S: 5, T: 5, MF: 5, D: 4.5
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. It has to have one of the best labels I've ever seen.
Pours a pretty hazy deep umber orange with a little bit of frothy off-white head at the start, but this dissipates pretty quickly leaving almost nothing but the finest of rings around the edge of the glass. Very fine bubbled carbonation when tilted, however, forming in stern, persistent streams from the edge of the glass. The lack of head is disappointing, otherwise, it's decent enough.
Nose is immediately very sweet, with a little spice coming through. Sticky date pudding, soft caramel and a thick artificial vanilla are dominant, with a suggestion of oak and red apples. There's a dark toffee character to the sweetness that stops it from being purely cloying, but there's no doubt that the aroma is very thick and sweet.
Taste is marginally better in that it's not just the sticky toffee mess I expected it to be, and there's a pleasant booziness coming through which lifts the centre of the palate to an airy restraint. But it still tastes sweet, even if it's not as thick and cloying as I feared it might be. Slight spice comes through, but not enough, and on the back palate, I'm left with a significant worty stickiness that hangs around before diving into a vegetative funk in the aftertaste.
Feel is actually quite flat and dead, and relies more than it should on booze to provide the dynamics.
Overall (amazing label notwithstanding), this is an extremely disappointing beer. It's overly sweet and rather simple. What's more, once I'd drunk about half the bottle, there was an unpleasant build-up of heat on the back palate, that was unwarranted and unearned. It made me think it very average for a beer of its style and strength.
Pours a burnished orange colour, quite bright with slightly off-white crown of foam. Lacing disappoints me. I am not overall disappoint though.
Smells very earthy, phenolic and spicy. Slight fruit tang - orange and a touch of banana midway but a good belt of star anise, cloves and red pepper. Has a gruity edge to it, like it smells more like a custom spice mix than a beer.
Taste amps up the aromatics a bit more. Fruit is more distinct, with orange peel on the front evolving into tangerine and kiwi on the back. Midway the spices are all present - touch of star anise, clove ester but also a pinch of nutmeg. Late-mid has an unfortunately astringent, but insubstantial flavour which mars the smoothness of the palate. Certainly not bad, but I've had tastier.
Decent body to it; doesn't quite have enough body but there's a nice texture as it goes down. Quite dry on the back.
Not exceptionally drinkable, because of the slight sour, vegetative character form the spice. Maybe more proper phenolic bitterness on the back could smooth it out and more sweetness upfront could help the balance. The spice should just pop out rather than smother the rest of the beer.
330ml bottle purchased from Steve's Cool Booze in Kensington.
Pours a rather deeper hue than I expected: an amber-golden colour, that looks rather dense and syrupy. Head fizzes up quite a lot on the first pouring, but then settles back to an inauspicious film across the top. Body looks fluid, but also retaining some of the thickness initially perceived. Overall, it looks like a decent beer, but a pretty average tripel.
Nose is dusty and slightly savoury. Some green sprouting wheat characters, and a hint of dusky spice, like pepper mixed with earth. There's a noticeable booziness as well, and a suggestion of oxidation. I note the best before date is 05-2013: so it's still within that range, but towards the back end. Overall, I'm not particularly impressed.
Taste is dank and limp, with a metallic character rising on the mid palate, and a old sherry oxidised bitterness on the finish. Some spice and booze are noticeable, especially when the beer is allowed to evaporate on the tongue, but otherwise it feels flat, and rather uninteresting.
Feel is overly fizzy, despite the perception that it has burnt itself out quickly. It is light, however, belying the appearance of thickness. Some boozy heat is also present.
Overall, I'm not a big fan. This has really darkened, dampened and flattened with time, and I'm far from being enthusiastic. Indeed, this tastes a little like a mediocre homebrewer attempting a strong Belgian golden without much success. Very average indeed.
71 / 100
Pours a slightly pale golden colour, mild haze but mostly clear. White, dense head, nice marshmallowy lace. Looks nice.
Smells Bretty. Funky and wild, with some barnyard mixing with citrus tang and an odd peanutty kind of aroma. A little bit too rich/sweet actually, but with some nice notes.
Taste starts with more nutty malt, then gets that organic funky flavour, not quite tart but just nice and organic-tasting yeasts. A hint of soil and grass and a slight mould flavour, in a good way. Spice on the back as well. Could use more acidity to freshen it up and cut through as it's still a little on the rich/sweet side for me.
A bit bitey, but a good bit of substance on the feel. Quite puckering towards the back, however.
Pleasant, but not quite as well harnessed as others in the same ballpark sort of 'genre' that I've tried.
61 / 100
Pours a very pale straw-gold colour, quite clear with white foamy head. Not bad, but could use some more head, plus I don't mind a bit of cloud in any Belgian styles, really.
Smells quite big, with lots of grains. Smells quite like barley husks with a slight nutty edge. Spicy, touches of fruit esters coming through the big booziness. A bit simple, really. Smells big, but unnuanced.
Taste is quite sweet too, also with a slight nutty edge. Plenty of fruit in there as well with a big boozey whiff coming late. Notes of pepper, mediciney characters, vanilla on the back as well. Touch of brandy to the alcohol. Decent, but again way simple for the style, doesn't quite layer on the flavour and complexity the way other Tripels do.
Bit of booze heat, otherwise OK on the texture.
Not as complex as a tripel should be. Touches on the right notes but doesn't explore them in depth.
Pours a pale straw-gold colour, slight cloud to it with white head. Looks a little thin, but pretty decent.
Smell is phenolic, as one would expect, and quite sweet, as one would also expect. Lemon character on there and maybe a touch of rosewater? Floral, lavender and frangipani aroma. Quite sweet, but with a touch of Belgian rubberiness. Not bad.
Woah, so sweet on the palate. Huge malt rush on the front and not much on the back. Touch of nutmeg spice but fairly thin otherwise. Tastes underfermented and gives a big nod to crystallised honey. It could be very much enjoyed by some but it's not really my thing.
Can't really find the alcohol which is a good thing; decent body otherwise too.
Was meant to be a 'spiced' tripel, but I get more honey than spice and it's all very, very sweet. Not a terrible beer but I'm a bit disappointed.
78 / 100
Squat 330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a deep, relatively clear golden hue, with a massive, frothy and sticky head of off-white, that leaves some very solid, messy and complex lace. Body is pleasantly light, and has bright beading carbonation threaded through it. The clarity is very nice, and the head is spectacular. Overall, it's a very good-looking beer.
Nose is sharply hoppy, with a peppery, continental European bent to the aromas. Some slightly grassy notes and a herbal, slightly spicy character. This spice character mingles with the Tripel side of things; the slightly volatile spicy booze and yeast notes. It has a little lemonade sweetness too, which pares everything back a little. It's quite pleasant all up, and pretty much fulfilling its promise.
Taste is solid, with some biting peppery Tripel phenolics through the centre of the palate, that morphs pleasingly into a long, oily bitter note on the back. Some solid savoury, biscuity malt around the edges does a decent if pedestrian job of forming a basis, while there are hints of those fragrant volatiles as it warms in the mouth. Slight hint of juniper and more pepper on the afterpalate. Pleasing.
Overall, this is good stuff. Bright, and peppery, it takes the parts of a Tripel and an IPA which work well together, rather than setting two distinct styles against each other. The end result is a more fully integrated and pleasant experience, rather than a mere curiosity. I was pretty impressed.
81 / 100
Bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. In fact, this is now available in Sydney, but I'm pleased to have carted it back to Australia myself. Shared with @tobeerornottobe and @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a mild, slightly hazed golden colour, with a magnificent crown of pure white, shiny froth. Lacing is spectacularly intricate. Body is solid, but pleasingly fluid. Carbonation strikes out with vigour through the body, but it's surprisingly fine throughout. Overall, good looking beer.
Nose is obviously bretty, as are all Anchorage's brews, but here there's a more rounded, slightly fruity straight Belgian yeast note to it. This melds with a surprising but pleasant earthy grain character that lends a touch of savoury to the brew. Almost has a hint of smoky barbeque to it in a strangely oblique way. Overall, very nice stuff indeed.
Taste is lighter, but with a direct, slightly biting fruit to it, almost like a capsicum sweetness. Plenty of smooth oak here on the palate, definitely giving some chardonnay characteristics. There's a bit of astringency on the back, partially from acidity and partially just from the straight Belgian yeast strain (which I assume was used in concert). It's very nice stuff. Feel is particularly good. Smooth, but unobtrusive. Great stuff.
Yup, another masterful addition from Anchorage to their already masterful range. The chardonnay I thought was subtle, but it turns out to be the defining factor of this beer the more you drink. It's a very interesting result.
69 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse's Italian Spectapular.
Pours a deep golden colour, with some minor hazing. Head is just a ring of fine white that leaves some patchy lacing. Body looks solid. Pretty decent look.
Nose is potent and broad. Big bubblegum characters come through, along with a biting medicine character. At its core it's sweet, however, with big marzipan characters coming through. Impressively big, indeed.
Light bubblegum on the entry of the palate as well, with a creamy, rounded Belgian note progressing. Back falls away slightly, leaving no crispness to clean upâit leaves the palate feel oily. It's not bad. The smooth feel is actually a nod in its favour.
Overall, this was one of the better beers I had at the SpecTapular. Solid and pretty tasty.
41 / 100
Had on-tap at the Italian Spectapular at the Local Taphouse in Sydney.
Pours a very clear, light yellow colour. Very clear indeed, and very light indeed. Head is a white, solid ring that leaves some misty, partial lace. Overall, I'm unimpressed.
Nose has a slight Belgian roundness to it along with some bland, pedestrian spice characters. This is trumped by a very dry floury time aroma that doesn't really do anything for it. Pretty bland overall.
Taste is clean but very dull. Roundness from the Belgian characters, with a mild, floury yeast finishâit's getting towards offensive there. More spice, in a very generic kind of way. Overall, it feels rather cloying after a while. The feel is smooth, but it cloys as well, despite feeling weak.
Not a fan. This is a poor parody of a tripel.
80 / 100
Last beer I had on-tap at Rogue's brewery in Newport OR during a recent visit.
Pours a lovely pure yellow colour, with a firm but translucent haze. Head is white, persistent and huge, although it leaves no lacing whatsoever as it falls. Carbonation is powdery when the glass is tilted. Looks good.
Big Belgian characters on the nose: buttered bread, baked beans, roundness. It's smooth, but sharp and pleasant. Awesomely traditional and very, very good.
Light buttery characters on the front, before moving into some smooth organics. Hint of floral notes (perhaps lavender) before a dry, phenolic finish. It's light but rather biting on the end, but leaves no ringing residuals on the aftertaste. Feel is smooth but light.
Overall, this is a very tasty brew, and a really good tripel. I'll admit, I wasn't expecting all that much: I find it rare to get a non-Belgian tripel that's really worthy of the style, but this is pretty damn good.
75 / 100
On-tap at the brewery in Seattle.
Pours a hazed yellow colour, with a very firm and full head of white. Body is surprisingly thick and weighty: certainly bigger than usual for even a big Belgian beer as this is. Lots of carbonation streaming through however. Looks good overall.
Stacks of bubblegum on the nose: cheap trading card bubblegum at that. Slight hints of lemon and banana, along with, yes, a touch of spice. Overall, it's impressive in its power, and really quite good stylistically overall.
Taste is smooth, with yet more bubblegum and banana, but also with a bunch of spicy esters and phenols giving a touch of wintergreen and biting pepper on the back palate. Again, it's good stuff stylistically. Feel is smooth, but chewy.
Good work. A genuinely solid tripel. My only hesitation is the excess phenolics and the wintergreen characterâit'd make it super smooth all over. And that would make it a pretty spectacularly drinkable brew.
750ml bottle brewed by "the women of Australian Craft Beer" with profits supporting the McGrath Foundation. Brewed on site at True South, hence the filing of it here.
Pours a lovely bright, but very clear amber-golden colour, with a firm, fine but subdued head of pure white. Lacing is meshed where it forms, leaving some speckled streaks down the glass. Body is full and fine, persisting with some wonderfully fine bubbles. Looks very good, and spot-on stylistically.
Nose is also good stylistically, with round, soft Belgian notes coming through pleasantly, along with some spicy vanilla pod and orchid characters. There is a noticeable hint of booze to it as well, which could have been hidden better, but otherwise quite fine.
Taste is softer, lighter and a little less enticing. Some light, lilting vanilla flower characters waft through the centre of the palate, with a bitter peel bite and a rather dry and empty finish. Boozy astringency gives a bitterness on the finish, but there's actually not much heat to itâit sits rather light and flat on the palate at the back.
Overall, this is a nice beer, but it suggested that it was going to be a Belgian tripel to finally rival the Belgians, and ended up losing its complexity and falling out of the same class. It's a shame, because there was plenty of promise to it.
It's still a very decent beer, however. Its pedigree just suggested it could be phenomenal.
81 / 100
Bottle purchased for me by @LaitueGonflable for my birthday.
Pours a pleasant clear, deep golden colour, with a firm, frothed egg-white head. Lacing is streaking and persistent. Lots of fine bubbled carbonation which works its way through the light body in a very sprightly manner. A little suspended yeast sediment from a less-than-ideal pour.
Nose is dry and crisp, with some light spiciness, a touch of dried fruit and a wandering lilt of apple must. Slight candied lemon twinge to it. Very well integrated and very refined.
Taste is as you would expect, very light and bright but with subtle dry complexities. Dried apple on the front, with a spritzy, slightly zesty spice mid palate, followed by a surprisingly lengthy finish, giving white grape skin and a touch of pepper. Very little astringency or phenols, and the alcohol is almost unnoticeable. Feel is light, but very smooth and careful.
Really wonderful Tripel. Plenty of complexity, but smooth, enjoyable and supremely drinkable. Great beer.
Had this at the horrible little Galgenhuisje in Gent. Our server was relatively friendly, but the place is a tiny hovel filled with smoke. Not the most conducive to drinking beer.
Clear golden blonde colour in the glass, with a thick and frothy head of white. Decent head. Lots of streaming carbonation. It looks decent enough, without being stellar.
Round estery yeast on the nose, with big Belgian notes. Sweet, with a little spicy pepper. Mingled with this is a slight rustic note, almost like it has a bit of age on it. Not bad.
Taste is similar. Stronger, however, and sweeter, with a slight estery finish and some phenolic bite. Grain touches, which are unusual in a Belgian. Feel is light and thin. I can't say I'm a big fan.
It's soft and light, but I've had much better Belgians and much better beers stylistically.
80 / 100
Pours a pale straw colour. Furious bead feeding a very generous white head that fills most of the glass with nice, dense puff. Sinks in lovely marshmallowy pattern on top leaving lovely thick lace. Not sure about how that carbonation will affect the texture, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt for looking otherwise damn fine.
Nose is lovely and sweet. Lots of kiwi with fresh-cut grass and citrus. Sauvignon blanc-esque notes with lovely rich stone fruits coming in all sides - peach, apricot and some apple as well. All tempered by just a whiff of musty Belgian yeast. Magnificent, bold tripely smell: big, boozey but sweet and complex.
Front of the palate is all fruit, with those tangy kiwi, stonefruit and citrus notes paving the way for a quite vinous mid-palate, giving some tart green grapes and some charry oak, plus a hint of boozey warmth late-mid. Finish is fairly smooth and sweet, but leans a bit towards the yeast to border on cloying, and could use more Belgian spice to keep it grounded. It's a very nice, big sweet Belgian palate, but there's not enough zing on the back to complement the tangy fruit upfront.
Yeah, mouthfeel is a little raw from the carbonation combined with the alcohol. Not bad though, very smooth on the front.
A great tripel with really lovely flavours. Falls short of true magnificence but it's a very enjoyable drop.
45 / 100
Pours a pale orange marmalade colour, clear body with light bead. Head is snowy white, lovely, thick and dense with a bit of wobble to it and sinking slowly to a thin crown. Standard for style, fairly decent.
Smell give you a huge, sweet, syrupy whiff of baked apple upfront. There's hints of some bready grain, oatmeal and marmalade on there. Yeah, honey-oat really, a bit too much with lots of fruit. Some spice or phenols would be nice, just smells over-sweet.
Taste starts out sweet, with more of that baked apple flavour, marmalade up front and some hints of honey and barley. It's kind of a tale of two palates - front is quite sweet, almost tangy, then it switches tracks halfway and becomes all phenolic. Just thick, mediciney without quite hiding the alcohol which is there in all its Benedictine glory. Strikes me as slightly similar to one of those Dogfish-head ancient pottery recipe beers. It's unbalanced, heavy, a bit of a mishmash really and a bit lacking in the pleasant factor as well.
Nicely full body but there's a real heat from the alcohol that really rather dries out the palate.
Unbalanced, but tolerable drop.
Pours an orange-tinged pale amber, quite cloudy with ridiculously generous Belgian-style head that sinks fairly quickly but forms a lovely whipped-egg-white look, dense on the top and leaving some sparse trails of lacing, clumps really. Decent-lookin' tripel.
Smells very fruity and complex. Lots of pear and peach aromas, apricot and passionfruit. Slight musty yeast on the back, but it's mostly sweet fruit-tinged malt notes, a touch of raisin in there as well. Quite pleasant, but maybe a touch too sweet.
Taste is also quite fruity for the most part. Starts off so, with pear-apple notes, develops some sweeter peach and granny smith tartness on the mid, apricot and currant notes backing up. Late on the palate as those musty Belgian yeast notes that border on spicy but are mostly just phenolic and slightly drying. Overall it's quite a fruity palate, still sweet on the back, but touches of tart/bitter adding to the mix. Decent, but I'm not hugely wowed either by the sweet or the bitter notes.
Decently full; bit too dry on the back, almost puckering. But suits the style well and it's all just the yeast characters vying for my affection.
A reasonably heavy drop at times, but pleasant overall.
61 / 100
Pours a cloudy orange colour, slighty dusty, with head that is off-white, fairly dense with not a lot of retention; sinks to a thin cloud on the top but a nice sticky ring of dense, tight lace around the glass. Quite tripelly and pretty good.
Smells pretty decent as well. Nice rich fruit, slight tartness but also a touch of bitterness. Dried apricots on there with a touch of banana, mango and even guava on there. Slight musty Belgian spice at the back, green pepper and a hint of vanilla. Quite delicious, really.
Taste is a little bit off-kilter. Starts sweet and very fruity, with baked apple and apricot notes that become fairly musty on the mid with a slight bland flatness that seems more like the sweetness just diminishes a bit. Late-mid it turns slightly bitter with an uncomfortable capsicaian flavour and an unnuanced phenolic note, sort of the medical astringency without the robustness, just a bit blah. Overall not as sweet as I like my tripels and just lacking in complex mid and late notes, especially for 9%.
A bit of a sizzle on the midway point and throughout, really. Body almost defends against it but not quite. OK though, not harsh.
Yeah, an enjoyable enough beer, and the alcohol is well-hidden. But I was happier smelling and anticipating than I was actually experiencing the flavour.
Pours a golden orange colour with mild haze. Steady, quite fast carbonation travelling to an off-white head that looks like whipped egg-white on the top, with large bubbles on the side. Nice chunks of lace weaved around the glass; looks nice.
Smells interesting. A curious balance of fruit and must. Fair peach, apricot, jammy characters all overridden by a Belgian mustiness with mild spice and a touch of damp basement aroma to it. Sweet/tangy does hold its own though, and is pleasant enough to carry it through nicely.
Taste is more fruity for the most part. Some dry, quite attenuated cake batter malt upfront develops a nice fruity tang at the midway point. Peach and apple and an apricot jham sweetness come through that then become quite bitter on the back. Slightly musty with light peppery spice, a touch of rubber and an almost vinous note, just has that dry red wine yeast character on the back, quite oddly but it's a nice way to finish. Finish is slightly drab, though; there's not a big characters and it kind of drops off a bit. Overall is pretty nice.
Decent foamy texture with the perfect body, just really nicely weighted in the mouth.
If the finish had more character, it might venture into less drinkable. As it is it's not the most amazingly flavoured beer but is quite enjoyable for drinking.
57 / 100
Purchased at Ledger's Liquor in Berkeley, CA, and brought back to Australia to share with @LaitueGonflable, @tobeerornottobe and @FakeCousinAndrew.
Pours a hazed but bright golden colour, with a fill bodied, if large-bubbled and foamy head. Lacing is sudsy and thick. Minimal carbonation present - in fact, the body of the beer looks quite still and quite heavy. Looks very pleasant, particularly the colour.
Nose is pleasantly round with lots of Belgian esters coming off it. Light vinous acidity, and very slight hint of oak. Some apple cider vinegar character comes through as it warms, which doesn't really suit, although the other characters are nice.
Very thin on the palate, with some faint cidery nothingness on the front and a back laced with sharp Belgian phenols. The rice, I feel, is the attempt to lighten the body, but I fear it's what gives that straight fermented sugar sweetness, and a hint of the cider. The phenols on the back are true to style, but they stand out a little too harshly. Not a whiff of the basil.
Feel is light in feel, but heavy in body. As in, you can't feel the thickness in the mouth, but you can as you swallow.
Only an average brew as far as I'm concerned. Misses the mark for the style, and the extra "quirks" added to it don't do enough to make it interesting.
69 / 100
Pours a very cloudy and turbid deep yellow-orange, with a fine bubbled and reasonably consistent head of white. Lacing is sudsy but solid enough, in the Belgian style. Body is very pleasantly thick and heavy, indeed thicker and heavier than I expect from the style, but it seems very pleasant nonetheless.
Nose is spicy and quite deep, almost getting a smoky character to it, which is extremely unexpected. Quite sweet and slightly meaty. Perhaps the smokiness gives a smallgoods aroma to it. Vinous notes as well, with a hint of cellar and must. Interesting nose. I have to say, fuck it, I like it, even though it's quite off stylistically.
Taste is similar, again there's a smoky character which really stands out, given that it's so unexpected and out of style. Here, there's sharper booze notes as well, especially on the back, although they don't turn phenolic, which probably would have actually dragged it back stylistically. Here, it ends up rather pungent and metallic, giving a bite to the back. Spiciness throughout, although the true spicy esters from the yeast are dogged by the spicily astringent booze notes.
Feel is very nice, smooth and rather flat, but it suits it - too much carbonation on this one and it would be bloating, heavy and thick.
An interesting brew, but one you feel doesn't match what they were really going for. There's a good deal of complexity, and some interesting takes on the style, but there's also a lot which is way out of whack with what's expected, and given they were going for a "complex and balanced Belgian-style tripel ale", I think they missed.
However, I'm reviewing it on its merits, not strictly to style, so for all that, it's a tasty drop of beer.
61 / 100
Pours a clear bronze colour, with furious, furious carbonation, like massive and manifold streams. Head is cream-coloured and fluffy with big visible bubbles. Sinks kind of unevenly, giving this a nice natural, flawed look. Lace is uneventful. Can see what they were trying to do here, but can also see they haven't quite succeeded.
Smell has a nice fruitiness to it, but is more dominated by a fusel alcohol aroma. Definite whiskey edge to it, which seems to belie a thinning aroma. Touch of vanilla with some apricot and lime marmalade and a slight peach schnapps sweetness. Again, some classic tripel characters but it falls short.
Taste is less in terms of boozey strength, which is a plus, but there are other flaws. Fair amount of fruit and deep malt on the front, giving that slight liqueury sweetness with a touch of canteloupe and apricot on there, jammy mid-palate with a fair dose of cinnamon which is probably the highlight. Finish still has that fusel alcohol robustness to it, but it's less intense a sensation than it is a flavour; and frankly if I could choose on or the other I'd prefer the warming sensation with other more complex flavours to the taste of booze in my mouth. Just kind of trails off and lacks that Belgian spicy phenol on the back. I've seen that character to varying degrees in this particular style, but very conspicuously lacking here. The front is all Belgian sweetness but the finish just has a 'strong ale' feel to it without a whole lot of flavour to excite me.
Yeah, a bit over-warm on the back and a bit too busy midway. Decently full body, but not as much as I'd expect from 9.5%
A decent effort, and I would love to see more Aussie breweries take a crack at this style. While they haven't hit all the right notes here, they've wavered around them a lot and as a result I get the gist. It's quite a tasty beer.
72 / 100
Pours a shiny gold colour, light mild haze in the body and nice strong stream of carbonation which does nothing to revive a flagging head - more a thin film - of off-white foam. Lacing cradles the glass very nicely. Decent tripel, really.
Nose is quite pungenetly boozey, but it's part and parcel of a marmaladey sweetness. Plenty of nice Belgian phenols with hints of banana, peach and pear. Some light clovey and peppery spice and a touch of gooey caramel. Great tripley character, all in good proportions.
Taste is a little disappointing. Doesn't have the blossoming potency of the nose. Quite musty overall, but starts with an almost treacly sweetness, fortified wine as well I guess that turns quickly fruity, giving off fresh bananas and pear notes. Gives way halfway through to a phenolic spice that leaps and bounds for a long finish. Notes of white pepper, coriander seeds and a eucalptus edge that has a very nice tamed quality allowing it not to overwhelm the palate.
Dryness on the back is inevitable from the style and strength, but mouthfeel overall is nicely weighted, with a decent texture.
Balance is well-struck here and the strength is only faintly noticeable. A good beer, but not a truly great one. Pretty much run-of-the-mill tripel. But then, I like tripels.
69 / 100
Pours a very light, but very hazed yellow colour, with an extremely voluminous head of crackling whit bubbles. Some dissipation as the head collapses, but the lacing is reasonably good, sticking in the same patterns as the large bubbles cracked. Lots of streaming carbonation, but that gives it rather a refined look. Looks very decent overall.
Nose is rather bready, but with a good, slightly funky crushed citrus leaf character. Plenty of Belgian yeas, but a lot of refreshment to be had throughout, and a little bit of classic spice and phenolics to remind you of the style. Very decent.
Taste is sharp and peppery, and extremely phenolic on the finish, with a big bitterness that wells up throughout. Front is thin with a slight yeast overtone, before the phenolic spice comes through with a vengeance. Feel is very light, but gets cut with the astringency on the back.
Wow, compared to the St Bernardus I had earlier in the evening, this is a far more raw and far harsher beer, and it suffers for it. Not a huge amount of complexity, and a ragingly raw back palate that truly hurts drinkability. As much as I'm reviewing it, I know it's not my place to tell the Trappist monks what to do, but this was not my cup of tea. There are other examples I've enjoyed a whole lot more.
It's not a bad beer by any means, but it's below the baseline for the style in my opinion.
83 / 100
Absolutely gushing when uncapped, saved and poured into a tulip. Head bubbles bombastically at the start, but crackles itself out to just a half-centimetre of white large-bubbles. Lots and lots of carbonation through the slightly hazy deep golden coloured body. Looks decent, but not stellar.
Nose is ripe and rank with Belgian nuances. Hints of spice, yeast, orange peel, organics. Sweet, but with a backing aroma of something meatier to blend it all together. Yes, there's something complete about the nose, all the Belgian elements integrated together perfectly.
Taste is smoother and more gentle than I expected, none of the phenolics you often get. Light apple pastry softness on the front, with hints of spice coming forward on the back, and just a little upsurge in booze at the end - it's extremely subtle though, and just gives a quick sweep to cleanse the palate. Palate is extremely smooth but light, and while the carbonation seemed omnipotent when looking at it, it merely dances softly in the mouth.
Such a smooth and supple tripel. It's such a lightly done one, with everything so well integrated that I feel like many of the other examples just don't get it. Beautiful stuff.
61 / 100
Spices. They don't mention which, but we'll see how we go with it anyway. Head is crackling and large and almost more white than I've seen from any other beer. It's really quite bright, light and blank, made up of large bubbles that sizzle themselves into oblivion. Body is a very pale and clear yellow colour, and the carbonation speeds through the thin body, trying in vain to keep the loose-bubbled head alive.
Funky nose, big on Belgian notes, but extremely phenolic. Meatiness, a little clove, sandalwood incense, crushed grass and something even more organic comes through. It's quite a classic Belgian nose, obviously brewed with a genuine yeast strain. They've done a reasonably good job of it as well - I feel as though something's missing, but I have a hard time working out what it might be, and as a result I think it ends up pretty good on the nose.
Taste is also pretty true for a Belgian styled ale. Quite light on the body, but that's to be expected, slightly phenolic flavours throughout, with spice reaching up to abrade the palate, and a pleasant bitter almond character on the finish. Feel is surprisingly flat for a beer with such lively carbonation, but the lightness in the body compensates for the somewhat sharp flavour profile.
It's an interesting brew, but not something I'd necessarily seek out again. There are better Tripels out there, especially from the Belgians themselves, and while this is a fair representation, it's also something that doesn't need to exist.
88 / 100
Possibly one of the last bottles to reach Australian shores, at least for a while, sadly. Chilled to cellar temperature and served in my Unibroue tulip, avoiding the lees.
Body is an absolutely beautiful cloudy but burnished ripe pear colour, deep yellow with hints of orange in its depths. Head is billowy and frothy, boisterously foaming up when poured. Pleasantly light body and thick sheeting lace as the head collapses. It's a wonderful looking beer.
Nose is crisp but round, full of spicy, earthy Belgian yeast notes, with hints of dark fruit, fig compote, pickled orange rind, and whisked vanilla essence. Such wonderfully blended and outrageously sophisticated aromas. Gorgeous.
Taste is smooth and round, but with a central vector of fruity acidity that cuts pleasantly through the sweetness. Spicy Belgian notes come up through the back, along with a subtle but structured spirit bite. Mouthfeel tingles with subtle heat and acidity throughout, just livening up the palate wonderfully.
Yes, this is a very good and very well-crafted beer. Extremely flavoursome, but so well balanced and light enough that it's supremely drinkable. An excellent brew that I'll be sorry to see disappear.
Pours a very cloudy orange colour, very opaque-ish with a few chunks I forgot to decant. Head is generous and Belgian, nice off-white, sinks pretty quickly but leaves some delicious webs of lacing around. Pretty nice.
Smell is quite sweet and fruity, with some caramel notes and vanilla underlying. Hints of peach/apricot and some brandy alcohol on there as well. Subtle Belgian spice as well. All the right characters, nicely blended.
Taste is quite spicy on the front, a quite robust alcohol pungency through most of it. Nice fruity edges on there with apricot, fig and raisin flavours. Quite malty on the back with some alcohol warmth as well, quite smooth and not very dry but with a nice booziness and sweetness. Could use a touch more spice ester. Nice, but could be better.
A bit of sizzle on the texture but warm and smooth as it goes down, good feel.
Yeah, a lot of oomph to this beer, but the flavours are soft and sweet and nicely blended. Pleasant Belgian tripel.
44 / 100
Pours an orange-golden colour with weird suspended yeast particles. Slow bead feeding a nice, dense, foamy head that sinks slowly, leaving some really pleasant lacing behind. Not sure about the suspension, but the head and lace are awesome.
Smell is weirdly yeasty, lots of honey and some slight spice notes, nutmeg and cinnamon, but yeah, oddly sweet. Don't like it a lot, a bit simple and too grainy-sweet.
Taste is lacking. A bit sour on the front and then gets a bit nutty and yeasty, with odd honey notes, kind of tastes like honey-cluster breakfast cereals, with that grain/honey combo. Maybe a hint of rice on it as well. Yeah, quite plain, and a bit insipid. With an odd phenolic flavour just at the back. Not great, definitely lacking.
Quite good texture, although the body is surprisingly thin for the alcohol content.
Not a bad drinking beer, but definitely weakened and tasting a bit plain.
46 / 100
Pours a robust orange-yellow colour with a huge amount of floating sediment. Good bright colour though. Head is a very fine and filmy across the top of the beer, and it leaves some pretty nice lacing. Not bad all up.
Bit of a whiff of wet grain on the nose, with a slight hint of organic honey and a bit of turned earth. It's all a bit funky and weird. Not bad, but a bit too much of the funkier end of the spectrum.
Taste is flat and grainy. Some sweetness and a bit of harshness on the back. Bitterness burgeons at the back, leaving a flat and rather blaze finish. Sort of a plateau of that wet, slightly rotten grain. Can't say I'm a big fan.
Eh. Oxidised, perhaps? It goes downhill after a while. It's not a big beer, or a particularly interesting one, but it's drinkable enough in its way. Not something I'd choose on a regular basis, and it's certainly not one of my favourite Tripels.
86 / 100
Pours a burnished saffron colour with dense, generous white head, slowly sinking but at least 3 fingers left after a minute or so. Aided by a prolific but steadily paced carbonation, visible through a thin bodily haze. Lace is a bit thin, but otherwise a perfect look.
Smell is quite lovely. Huge herbal aroma with lots of coriander, some peppery spice and a fair tart aroma with hints of granny smith apples. Underlying it is a beautiful sweet, liqueury aroma, putting one in mind of apricot jam, brandy and sherry. Beautifully balanced aroma, just lovely.
Taste is very sweet, pleasant, much spice on it. Begins quite caramelly with fruity notes, pear and peaches mostly, then mid-palate has a beautifully rich gingerbread flavour, spice alongside that great golden syrup notes. Finish comes through with real Belgian phenolics, some coriander seed flavour and some cherry/medicinal notes as well. Wonderfully smooth alcohol warmth seeps through the back, just gives you a nice hit of booze.
A lot of spicy piquancy on the feel, never gets too harsh though, but somehow I feel there's not a lot of body. It matches the flavour but I could deal with it being thicker.
Great flavours on that; warming and sweet and quintessentially Belgian. Just delicious.
71 / 100
Pours a pale golden colour with modest white head, dissipates leaving some pleasant thick lace behind. Very mild haze in the glass and a good thick wobble to the body. Looks great, very Belgian.
Smell is quite Belgian as well. A lot of nice clove and peppery spice blending with lovely fruity malt giving off orange and apricot notes. Great blend, could just use a bit more spice, but pleasant, definitely, and now, I've used, too many commas,
Massive malt hit on the front of the palate, like a big huge caramel wave on the tip of the tongue. Fruit comes through after this, tangy orange, apricot and cumquat with a huge dessert wine stickiness to it. Reminds one of a late harvest Botrytis Semillon, with a strong boozey warmth at the back to heat the throat and hints of white peppery spice. A pleasant, sweet, warming brew.
Thick and syrupy on the feel. Nice, but just has a little too much of a treacly texture to it.
A bit strong overall, but something that tastes this good is always a great one for sipping.
76 / 100
On tap at the Local Taphouse's Canadian SpecTapular.
Pours a hazed golden colour with a very decent head of thick white foam. Some carbonation present - looks very decent.
Ozone on the nose; light geranium character with lilting tells of the more classic spice aromas. It's very robust and intense on the nose, even lending a fresh piney note. Wow. Really good, really fragrant and complex.
Taste is battered with a huge clove character, that almost overwhelms everything else. Very spicy throughout. Some light phenols are present on the back, giving a lightly bitter acetone finish to match the welling alcohol heat. Once I start filtering the clove, it gets a little more palatable, leaving some round Belgian yeast characters and a drier finish.
A big and battering beer to pound on the senses. Full of character, no doubt, but also a little too close to anarchy for more than a small glass.
Pours a pale gold colour with a little bit of fizzy head that dissipates immediately, leaving little more than a ring. Clear body, very slow bead, only bubbles occasionally. Some thin, but sticky lacing, is enough to save this from disaster. Colour is fine but mostly looks like a flat lager.
Nose is quite pleasant, sweet and phenolic. Fair fruity aromas with orange and apricot and lots of sherry-sticky alcohol fragrance, plus a spice that is at once pleasant and slightly confronting. Hints of fennel, black pepper and cumin give that a nice edge, not sure how well it bodes for flavour though.
Taste is sweet and Belgian. Lots of sherry characters with thick, sticky malt creating a slick but full, syrupy mouthfeel. Has hints of orange and banana on the mid with a slight marmalade character towards the back. Slight spicy yeast character ties in nicely with a gentle alcohol bite and very drying on the finish. Hits the right notes as far as a tripel goes, but plays a bit too quietly on them all. Could use a richer, fuller palate, more alcohol warmth, more spice. Decent effort but lacking.
85 / 100
Pours a golden-brown colour, slightly pale and translucently cloudy. Head is decent when first poured, sinks to a thin crown, but fed by a steady stream of bubbles, very strong in fact, keeps it alive from beneath. Good colour, lace is decent. Maybe a bit too carbonated.
Nose is pungent, and delicious, and deliciously pungent. Huge amounts of rich, ripe fruit - peach, apricot and fresh figs, as well as white grape skins and a lot of fortified wine/sherry sweetness. All capped off by a tasty blend of spice - pepper, nutmeg, anise and turmeric. Big capsicum sourness lingering behind. The strength of odour gives hints of alcohol, but no methyl character. Stunning and arresting nose. Beautifully done.
Taste is somewhat less complex, at least immediately. Starts sweet and sour, with more fruit - peaches, figs, banana as well, and stewed pears - giving way to a piquant spice, lots of clove and cinnamon, even paprika come through on the mid and more of that capsicum sourness. Even a slight chilli whazzo! hit on the end, a really arousing spice to this, especially at the back.
Mouthfeel is slightly disappointing, quite sizzly and sharp. I guess that's where you notice the alcohol, if you swill it in the mouth. But not quite as much body as I'd like either.
Absolutely no hit of alcohol though, this is a really deadly drop. Deceptively drinkable and very tasty, just superbly handled with all the right Belgian characters and an immensely satisfying sweet/spicy balance. Awesome.
69 / 100
Pours slightly orangey but pale yellow mostly, slow bead with thin white crown of head. Lacing is decent, but thin and a bit patchy. Looks slightly cloudy as well. Not too bad - it's definitely steak, but it's not filet mignon. If that makes sense.
Nose is deliciously fresh and fruity, a lot of pineapple, banana and a tangy citrus hoppy character as well. Sweet and refreshing, smells quite like a pineapple soft drink. Not as spicy or phenolic as I would expect, maybe just a bit too sweet, but very nice.
Taste is more intense, with more phenolic bitterness throughout, quite bitter really. Tastes tangy at first, more of that tropical fruit character, helped by a nice pale malt sweetness, then becomes a lot more tart and astringent, quite a lot of citric character and elements of leather and lemon rind. Finish trails off a bit towards the back, but lingers gingerly with a slightly dank bitterness.
Mouthfeel is nicely textured, as full as it needs to be, leaves a little dry. All quite effective.
This is fairly pleasant, but a bit more bitter than I think it needs to be. Quite boozey as well which is good for the style but needs more of a spicy Belgian character to balance it. Ultimately this does feel just a bit off-balance.
74 / 100
Pours a slightly cloudy light but bright golden colour, with a minimal head of white foam. The head is certainly a disappointment given the style, but otherwise it looks quite tasty.
Some pleasant sweet phenols on the nose, a little sharpness, some spiciness, and a good hint of savoury Belgian yeast character. It doesn't wallop me in the nose, but it's very true to style and very pleasant.
Very smooth and quite phenolic on the palate, but it has a huge amount of creamy sweetness that washes in and around, seemingly filling in all the gaps in the flavour. Not dry on the back at all, which is a little out of character, but it is very pleasant. Mouthfeel is quite light, good for the style.
A very smooth, and exceptionally drinkable tripel. It seems just a tad too light on character to me, but it's pretty close to true, and the places it deviates from the style, it deviates with forethought and purpose. Very nice.
73 / 100
Tried on tap at the Local Taphouse (Thanks guys!)
Pours a cloudy apricot colour with a translucent appearance. Dense white head, sinks slowly, leaving some pleasant white lace behind. Looks great, thick and sweet.
Smell has lots of coriander and citrus, very wit-esque actually. Peppery Belgian yeast notes, a bit of malt but not much complexity, just a lot of that strong Belgian yeast.
Strong and complex palate with a lot of alcohol being detectable, peppery and phenolic with a mediciney character coming through midway. Coriander and lots of candied orange peel. Very Belgian, very pleasant.
Mouthfeel is foamy, quite textured, full enough for what it is.
Drinks well. Spicy and Belgian with lots of character.
83 / 100
Pops the cork with a very impressive sound. Pours a beautiful cloudy golden yellow with a nice thick head of crunchy, crackling milk-coloured bubbles. Great lacing. Looks a top drop.
Lots of phenolic activity on the nose. Big oaky characters, citrus, resin, a bit of wine cork, unique but refined, fresh but aged. Lots of sharp fruit as well, maybe cherries or cranberries, in a lingering overtone. Very nice indeed.
Smooth sweet entry, with a blossoming robust oak character. Sweet, lightly citric notes on the mid palate before the long finish, dry and crisp, with a noticeable alcohol heat. Mouthfeel has a perfect sheen on it, and only at the end when the big alcohol presence is felt is there a tingling on the tongue. Yet in a way the prominent alcohol character numbs this away.
For me, this is such a classic American craft beer. A Belgian style tripel aged in bourbon casks. Where else in the world could such a beer be possible?
A big beer, very refined, but somewhat hard to approach as well. There are some really lovely characters to this. The huge ABV is daunting, and to be honest, isn't necessary. There's just a bit too much of it noticeable on the palate.
But this is a very nice beer nonetheless. Not something for every day, but something worth savouring on a rare occasion. Try it once now, and then maybe again in a year or so.
Pours a standard golden colour with slightly orange tinge. Off-white head is generous when poured, retains its generosity well. Magnanimous head it be, indeed. Lacing is decent, but not as thick or sticky as I'd expect from a Tripel. Good-looking beer, certainly not great.
A strong Belgian nose, quite a lot of citrus peel on that, with orange and dried mandarin. Surprisingly hoppy for the style, has a very distinct floral hop aroma, gives it an organic, earthy note, and there is little deep syrupy malt or toffee. Not bad, but really quite off-style.
Taste is similarly earthy, and oh my God, the hops dominate - WTF? This is completely off-style and what's more, they completely overwhelm the malt, which doesn't seem to lift its game to compensate for the bitterness. This has quite a chardonnay character throughout the palate, certainly woody, with oak and pine characters. Malt is only present at the very front and is then completely blown away by that stringy, organic hop bitterness which blares its horn loudly without adding much character or complexity to the palate.
Alcohol, too, is very very obvious on the mid-to-back palate and it gives this a very stinging, harsh mouthfeel. This flagrant, unbalanced brew is not very drinkable at all, and what's more it has nothing of the flavours of a Tripel. I may have gotten a bad batch, but this is a real disappointment.
74 / 100
Enjoyed from a snifter.
Pours a pretty straight orange colour, basically the colour of Fanta, with a generous Belgian head, has thinned out a bit now but still sticks around in a resilient white crown. Kept alive by a quick and constant stream of bubbles. Lacing is excellent, although it webs out and drops down quite easily. An excellent-looking beer.
This had a very strong apricot aroma when I first poured it, less obvious now. Strong hint of orange peel and a generous hit of cloves on the nose though. There is a marmalade sweetness on there which is that apricot I first detected. The fruit is prevalent, but balanced beautifully with a spicy Belgian character, conjuring up coriander, a bit of pine and possibly cumin. Complex and delicious.
Potent flavours on that, for sure. A champagne character comes through first and then abdicates to a resiny hop finish. Throughout the palate is a candy sweetness on the back of the tongue, aspects of banana, maybe some deep red apple and a hint of passionfruit. I hate to say it - and can it be true - but there is a distinct, even obvious, alcohol on this. The flavours are strong but the 9% is stronger. Unlike so many Unibroues, this one could never attend a masquerade ball as a session beer. Mouthfeel is very, very full and thick but with a delightful tingling of bubbles, a real treat.
It's a shame about the alcohol poking its head out, really. But more than that, it's a disappointment that the delicious springlike flavours on this can't overcome, otherwise this would be an exceptionally drinkable beer. As it is, it's just delicious instead.
76 / 100
Pours an orangey-red with heavenly thick white sheet of lacing, nice bit of head. Just looks sticky, alcoholic and delicious.
Smells like a heavily alcoholic botrytis. Deliciously sweet and sticky. Ohhhh, decadent and guilty. Hell yes.
Taste is the shit. Sweet and sticky, you can tell it's alcoholic but you don't care because it's very delightful drinking. Toffeed caramel and oh just sweet wonderful shit. Bit of a nasty finish mars an otherwise bomb of deliciousness.
Alcohol is obvious on the mouthfeel but is still very smooth. This beer gets you drunk.
Tried at the Australian Beer Festival in The Rocks 07.
The start was very inauspicious, but belied what this beer ultimately has to offer. I was pretty unimpressed with the appearance - a clear, piss-yellow colour with no head. What gives? It looks like Carlton Draught. Flat Carlton Draught at that.
Fortunately, it's all uphill from there. Decent Belgian-yeast nose. Hints of spice and honey and a really good solid body. It's pretty damn nice.
Taste is also very good. Decent spicy sweetness on the front, with a nice rich dried fruit character. The back has an alcohol harshness that's not entirely covered up. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for a tripel, even with the drying character that comes from the candi sugar. But it's pretty decent overall. Very tasty.
It is pretty good, and may I just say well fucking done to Murrays for having the balls to brew us up an Australian Tripel. Can't stand up to the Belgians, but it's good to see us Aussies having a go.
74 / 100
Dark ochre golden colour, somewhat cloudy. Huge billowy, frothy head which stays full and sticky to the very bottom. A true delight to watch.
Fresh berries, fruitiness, pineapple. Wow. It all fits together so beautifully. The hint of alcohol warms your senses, but the fragrant bliss of the sweet raspberries makes your mouth water.
Quite rich, and a little strong on the alcohol. It's warming, but the alcohol bitterness at the end really overpowers, and takes the edge off what would be a really pleasant beer otherewise. There are some really nice elements that are pushed into submission by the strength of the alcohol kick.
It's a beer to respect, probably one to come back to and explore again.
I feel I should like it more than I do. It has hidden complexity, that I'd like to explore, but for now, this only stays in the "alright" group.