The Belgian Tripel was originally brewed in the Trappist monasteries of Belgium, who used a simple naming convention to label beers by strength and amount of malt used in the brewing process. Enkels were the basic beer recipe, followed by Dubbels and Tripels (or Single, Double, and Triple — simple, see?) Tripels are the strongest beers in the range, with an alcohol content ranging from 8% to 10% ABV. Check out Mariah and Katie‘s posts for more detailed information on the history of the Belgian Tripel.
I sampled two beers for this week’s tasting: Tripel Karmeliet and Duvel Tripel Hop.
While writing this post, I realized that I should have done more research on Belgian Tripels before purchasing beers to sample. As it turns out, just because a beer is brewed in Belgium and has the world “Tripel” on the label does not necessarily mean it is a Belgian Tripel. The Duvel Tripel Hop, I came to discover, is in fact classified as a Belgian IPA. The label “Tripel Hop” refers to the three types of hops used, which now seems obvious. I’m still going to review it because it turns out that my mistake caused me to discover an IPA I actually like!
I’ll start with the real Belgian Tripel: The Tripel Karmaliet.
This beer is a beautiful pale golden color with a thick, creamy head. The flavor is crisp and light, with subtle hints of citrus. Very refreshing. This beer is brewed at Bosteels Brewery in Buggenhout, Belgium (try to say that three times fast). It has an alcohol content of 8.4% ABV and is available year-round. I’m happy to say I enjoyed this selection immensely.
Selection Number Two: Duvel Tripel Hop
Not actually a Belgian Tripel, but extremely tasty and worth a try. I actually preferred this to the Tripel Karmelier, though I would recommend both. Duvel is a pale golden hue with a light but creamy head. The flavor is crisp and fruity with a strong grapefruit essence. In a way, it reminded me of cider. The alcohol content is a noticeably strong 9.5% ABV. Duvel Tripel Hop is brewed with three hop varieties; the third hop changes annually, creating a unique taste and aroma each year. I tried the 2015 variety, which uses an aromatic hop from the United States called Equinox. I recommend trying this before 2016, as next year’s variety might be completely different!
Like this post? Check out the rest of the series.