316. Tripel Karmeliet

316. Tripel Karmeliet

Continuing on my Belgian beer kick, tonight I purchased a bottle of Tripel Karmeliet at Downtown Wine & Spirits. It comes in a 11.2 oz. brown bottle, which says "'3 grain' beer, still brewed after a 17th century recipe from the old Carmelite monastery of Dendermonde". I chilled this while I ate dinner, and then let it warm to approximately 50°F. I had this at Ali's so I didn't have my normal glassware. I served this in a rather odd conical glass from The Old Toad in Rochester, NY.

This beer is a Tripel. I originally understood 'Tripel' to mean that a beer was fermented three times. However most sources I've seen seem to point to a variation in the amount of malt used in brewing. Beer Advocate gives the most explicit definition, which can bee seen at the link above. The style is typically golden in color, with spicy and fruity notes in both aroma and flavor. These beers are also very high in alcohol.

Appearance (3.5): This beer looks like a standard Tripel. It pours a hazy golden that appears almost orange at times. The beer is topped by a mountain of white head that recedes, but still leaves a layer at the surface an eighth to a quarter inch thick. The beer leaves nice lace on the glass.

Smell (4.5): There are spicy, almost peppery notes here, along with fruity and malty aromas.

Taste (4.5): Up front spicy/peppery notes are prominent. Sweet fruity flavors emerge in the center, along with a bready yeasty flavor, but the spiciness remains. This beer finishes sweet with an alcoholic warmth. The presence of hops is subtle.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Smooth and medium bodied. The carbonation is prickly, but not overdone.

Drinkability (4.5): This is a delicious beer. I could have a few of these.

Overall (4.25): This is a really nice example of the style. The flavors are complex, but well-balanced.

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