Belgian hybrid ale combining India Pale Ale (IPA) and tripel styles.
Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel
By Bill Lau | Potable Pastime
Unfiltered, bottle conditioned IPA tripel. 9.0% ABV, brewed with Tomahawk, Amarillo, & Saaz hops
Brasserie d’Achouffe, Achouffe, Wigrin, Belgium
This is a shining example of brewers inspiring each other – keepers of tradition as well as unique beer styles in Belgium, and American craft brewers with their penchant for overloads of hops. I’m not sure on which side of the Atlantic the combination first appeared, but it seems to me a stroke of genius to take the Belgian tripel and hop it like an American IPA. (Sure, nowadays there are any number of beers starting with a Belgian style base of some sort and hopping the bejeezus out of it, but that first brewer who thought of it – well, now that I think on it, was likely a homebrewer! LOL)
So, I pop the cap, and – gusher! The bottle foamed over immediately. (Yeah, I know, technically that’s alcohol abuse, but it wasn’t my fault!) Every once in awhile this happens with a bottle conditioned beer. Last time I recall a commercial beer doing this was something from Rogue, many years ago. I had a batch of homebrew do this a long time ago, too. I did note that this mixed up the yeast sediment pretty thoroughly.
Appearance (3.5/5): Cloudy, pale orange-amber in hue with bits of yeasty sediment suspended throughout (told ya so!). Raises a voluminous head of dense, rocky foam, a pale beige in color. This gradually settles to a sustained layer at least 1/8″ thick. Leaves significant sheeting on the glass.
Aroma (9/10): Tart citrus peel notes combine with carnation (!) and earthy yeast; crisp, fresh, and appetizing.
Palate (4.5/5): Medium body and very fine carbonation, feels smooth and honeyish on the tongue.
Taste (9/10): Opens with floral hops and light citrus peel (lemon, orange), then rounds into grainy malt, and a dry, balancing bitterness. Faint spices join in with some earthy yeasty notes, then citrus returns in a building and lengthy finish which also brings a floral character reminiscent of carnation (there it is – again!). Complex and delicious!
Overall (17.3/20): Flavorful, potent, and enjoyable. Try with some tasty French or Belgian dishes, especially veal, fish, salad or simply a fresh baguette with butter.
Disclosure: The author has received no reimbursement or compensation for this article. All opinions and remarks are those of the author alone.