Ale brewed with Coriander, 7.8% ABV
New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO
Since I had recently enjoyed my introduction to New Belgium Fat Tire, I thought I’d try another offering from them (and hey, at $2.99 for a 22 ounce bomber, it’s hard to go wrong! But as I figure that’s just an introductory price here in Ohio and expect it to jump to a level on a par with other craft beer bombers at any time, better get it now, right?). Besides, I’m a fan of trippels (or tripels, depending on who’s spelling) in general.
The style originated with the Trappist brewery at Westmalle in Belgium in 1934 as their strongest beer, a blonde ale of around 9% ABV, but wasn’t actually called tripel until about 1956. It was then emulated by other breweries in Belgium, becoming a distinct style, and in more recent years has been brewed by a growing number of US craft brewers.
While packing a significant alcohol punch, tripels typically include a portion of sugar in the recipe, which tends to keep the beers lighter in body than they would be with an all-malt base, and very drinkable. The use of Belgian yeast strains adds a variety of flavor components ranging from spicy and phenolic to estery or fruity. Some versions include spices during the brewing process, as our current subject does.
New Belgium Trippel pours out a very clear honey-golden color with an off-white, thick and voluminous head that subsides to a very thin layer and collar after a short while.
Aroma is tangy, yeasty, and spicy. The coriander is evident and appetizing. I also get a hint of lemon peel (could be from hops).
Carbonation is surprisingly low, and the mouthfeel is rounded, with a moderate to moderately-full body.
Initial flavor impressions are of coriander, honeyish malt, and some yeastiness. Not as complex or profound as some tripels I’ve tried. There’s some crackery or biscuity malt. Low bitterness but enough to balance things out. Lemony note in the middle with a tangy finish. Leaves some sour tang at the rear sides of the tongue. I also get an earthy note, with more bitterness late, and a bit of a phenolic (clovey) note. As it warms some I pick up some floral-grassy hops in there, too. Pretty good stuff overall.
Rating: Appearance: 4/5 Aroma: 7/10 Palate: 4/5 Flavor: 7/10 Overall: 15/20