“3 grain” blonde beer brewed with wheat, oats, and barley and bottle conditioned. 8.4% ABV
Brouwerij Bosteels, Buggenhout, Belgium
By Bill Lau
Posted July 10, 2015
According to the brewery’s website, Karmeliet Tripel is brewed to a 1679 recipe from the former Carmelite monastery. The term tripel refers in this case to both the use of 3 grains in the recipe as well as the final fermentation in the bottle to carbonate the beer. All I know is that I first tasted this beer on tap about 8 years ago (at Dilly Cafe in Mariemont, Ohio, also served in the logo glass – thanks, Pnut!) and was duly impressed. That was probably around the time that I first became a fan of Belgian tripels; the combination of the character imparted by the yeast and the high drinkability of such potent brews won me over quickly.
So it is that I like to revisit this beer on a somewhat regular basis, especially during the warmer weather months. I don’t always go big on the ABV (one look at the sheer number of session IPA reviews on this blog will readily confirm that!), but if it’s hot out, tripels are my favorite style when I do.
Best before 06/01/16. Served in a beautiful stemmed Karmeliet glass. (Seriously, if you see one for sale, grab it! I mean, is that not one of the most beautiful beer glasses out there?)
Appearance (5/5): Hazy honey-golden to golden-amber hue depending on the light you hold it up to, capped with a monstrous inch and a half to two inches of ultra-dense, almost meringue-like hilly white foam. Awesome.
Aroma (9.5/10): Big, luscious aroma with fruit (banana, tangy lemon drops), spices (clove, coriander), and yeasty (a little bit earthy) goodness.
Palate (5/5): Very finely beaded, almost champagne-like effervescence keeps the mouthfeel moderately-light. Also possesses a certain smoothness of texture on the swallow. This balancing of big ABV while keeping the beer quite drinkable is a hallmark of the style and many Belgian beers in general. Love it.
Taste (9.5/10): Lightly sweet up front with some honey-ish malt, then fruity (hint of banana, lemon drops), tangy, spicy (coriander, faint clove), earthy & yeasty all in turn. Light bitterness accompanies the evolution of flavors as they go from sweet through tart/tangy to slightly drying and finish with a blast of spices and gently fading earthiness.
Overall (19.3/20): World-class beer, with great depth of flavor. An excellent argument for not always drinking uber-hopped IPAs (for those so inclined).