Disclaimer: I am a layperson, but I love Belgian beer. I especially love the Trappist-style ales. Developed by monks, these beers are still brewed today at the eight Trappist monasteries: Chimay, Westmalle, Orval, Westvleteren, Rochefort, Achel, Koningshoeven, and Engelszell. The styles–dubbel, tripel, etc–originally simply denoted the runnings from the mash and henceforth the relative alcoholic strength. In the early 20th century, Westmalle Abbey defined dubbel as a dark, malty beer and tripel as a pale effervescent beer, and it stuck. No matter the style, though, all abbey ales tend to be dry, malt-balanced, with fruity esters from the yeast. And delicious.
When it comes to abbey ales, I make them all. So far, I’ve had my single, Hopsail, on tap. Next up in two weeks is my dubbel, Heartsong. I’ll follow that with my tripel, Seek Truth, aged in a pear brandy barrel. And finally, this winter, I’ll have my quadrupel, Realize Truth, an elderberry quad. My abbey ales finish very dry through a unique blend of yeasts. I use pilsner malt and candi syrup to add the majority of the flavor, in the true Trappist fashion. Read all about them here:
Hopsail: Belgian single. 4.2% ABV. Made of nearly 100% pilsner malt, with a nice punch of Saaz hops at the end. A perfect beer for every day.
Heartsong: Belgian dubbel. 7.5% ABV. Pilsner and aromatic malts. Brown, sweet, and malty, with a touch of toffee, chocolate, and raisin from candi syrup.
Seek Truth: Belgian tripel. 9% ABV. Pilsner malt and white sugar. Pale, strong, with elegant yeast notes and character from barrel-aging.
Realize Truth: Belgian quad. 11% ABV. Jet black. Lots of candi syrup, dark fruit flavor from elderberries.