Duvel Tripel Hop Special Edition Belgian Golden Ale
By Bill Lau
Posted February 8, 2016
Brewed with Saaz & Styrian Goldings hops, dry-hopped with Mosaic by Duvel, Moortgat, Belgium. 9.5% ABV. 2014 edition – best by 07/2016.
I love that Belgian brewers have their deep-rooted, time-honored traditions yet find ways to try new things, combining different styles and ingredients and displaying their creativity, just like some of our crazy American craft brewers with their sometimes heavy-handed use of hops. This is a good thing, methinks! This particular offering combines one of my favorite Belgian styles, the tripel, with that time-honored (and inaccurately-named*) practice usually associated with English brewers (God love ’em), dry-hopping.
*For the uninitiated, dry-hopping refers to adding extra hops to the beer during fermentation and/or conditioning & aging for more intense aroma and flavor. So the hops do get very, very wet! In any case, this practice was resuscitated in the US many years ago by Fritz Maytag at Anchor Brewing and became de rigueur among both home and craft brewers. Nice to see the Belgians aren’t immune to this!
I don’t quite know who to thank for creating this style. My first exposure to this combination was from Stone in their 2008 Vertical Epic release, although they were themselves inspired by a beer they found in Belgium – as their website put it, they “discovered a special edition of a renowned Belgian golden triple that had been extra hopped up with American hops”. So for all I know, it may very well have been this beer! All I do know for certain is that the hybrid style has certainly spread far and wide since that time.
It’s a beautiful thing, Baby!
I got a champagne-like surprise upon opening the bottle, as the beer foamed over immediately. Haven’t had that happen in awhile!
Poured into a whimsical, stemmed Duvel glass featuring steampunk artwork showing the brewing ingredients and a series of gears turning a mash paddle. I simply could not pass this one up when I saw it at Jungle Jim’s International Market!
Appearance (4.5/5): Presents a lovely honey-gold hue with a slight haze; oodles of tiny bubbles (cue Don Ho) (showing my age here with that particular reference!) rise into the creamy-looking, near-white head of foam. This settles from over a finger’s width immediately after the pour to about a quarter inch of solid foam.
Aroma (9.5/10): Wow! Appetizing mix of very floral hops (rose petals!), lemon candy, and hint of yeasty complexity.
Palate (4/5): Very fine, almost champagne-like carbonation. Lighter bodied with a slight creaminess on the swallow due to the persistent head.
Taste (8.5/10): Starts out with some yeasty spiciness and light, crackery pilsner malt, then becomes fruity, lightly sweet with a tart edge, joined by notes of candied lemon peel, coriander & cardamom, and a touch of rose water. Bittering is on the lighter side with fairly high carbonation. Finishes with the spices and a lingering tanginess with a slightly earthy note in the background and a hint of tart blueberry.
Overall (17.7/20): Quite drinkable and complex, tasty brew. Very enjoyable! Belgian brewers really know how to work some magic.
Disclosure: The author has received no reimbursement or compensation for this article. All opinions and remarks are those of the author alone.