Over the last two weeks, I’ve had three different Belgian tripels on tap. Two were smaller test batches, and one, Seek Truth, was a double batch, so it will be around for a while. I thought I’d take the time to examine what may be my favorite style.
What is a tripel? Pale and effervescent, this strong Belgian abbey ale is the epitome of elegance and represents the lofty pursuit of great beer in its purest form. Tripels are high ABV dry beers that maintain a smoothness that belies a beer of such size. This paradoxical profile is achieved through the use of a high percentage of sugar, which keeps the beer crisp. The pale grain bill is the perfect showcase for deep pilsner malt flavor and Belgian yeast.
Originally, the designations of dubbel and tripel indicated the order the beer was drawn from the mash, and accordingly the relative strength. In the early 20th century, Westmalle Abbey popularized the malty, amber dubbel and the pale, strong tripel. Other breweries quickly followed suit, and the styles became more clearly defined.
I plan to offer several tripels in bottles for distribution in the future:
Seek Truth: Cherrywood-aged tripel. Strong, with solvent-like and woody flavors from toasted cherrywood.
Shadow of Truth: Black tripel. Dark, but smooth, with an enhanced malt character.
Pure Fiction: Sour tripel. Quite tart, with brettanomyces complexity.