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Beer Review #242 Long Strange Tripel

When I lived in Texas I had access to the typical Boulevard Brewing Company beers. Their Unfiltered Wheat was a staple in on of my friend’s beer machines (converted Pepsi machine… awesome). I was never a giant fan of that particular wheat beer but I did enjoy a number of their other beers. The only real problem that we had was in getting fresh beer. Lubbock, Texas isn’t exactly a craft beer haven and thus any craft beer that there was to be had was often mistreated.

They recently started distributing beer to my favorite beer store and I jumped at the chance to grab a few beers from their famed Smokestack Series. I grabbed three or four different brews, reviews coming, but today’s beer is Long Strange Tripel. This was my summer of Belgian beers so it made sense to try this on out first.

Long Strange Tripel comes in at an impressive 9.0% ABV. It pours a brilliant gold with a fluffy white head. There is not haze in this tripel. The nose is a great balance of Belgian yeast spice and sweetness. There are some really nice hints of dried fruits in there that I normally don’t notice in a tripel.

This beer begins with a nice soft malt flavor that quickly leads into a peppery spice. There are all types of Belgian spice and I genuinely enjoy most of them, but pepper by itself is not one that I care much for. I like when the pepper mixes with the other normal Belgian notes but by when it has to stand on its own, I find it to be a bit of a strange flavor to go with a beer. The aftertaste is very earthy, almost dirt-like. Love it.

This is an excellent tripel but not one of my favorites. The spice notes are a bit to strong for my liking and take away from the rest of the beer. Don’t get me wrong, this is an above average tripel, it’s juts not my cup of tea. (more…)

Beer Review #168 St. Bernardus Tripel

It doesn’t feel like that long ago when I reviewed St. Bernardus Prior 8, but it was, that was back in the summer. I had a few of the St. Bernardus beers when I was in Belgium over the summer and my taste for Belgian beers still remains. This ale is brewed by Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV of Watou, Belgium (next trip to Europe Nate, next trip). One of my favorite parts of Tripels is that my wife doesn’t particularly care for them, so I get them all to myself. I also love the taste.

This Tripel pours a nice cloudy blond color and has a fluffy white head. The nose is distinctly yeasty, with some slight Belgian spice in there. As a homebrewer, you quickly learn the smell of yeast, and this beer has lots of yeast smell. I also found some really nice banana in there as well. One notable thing that I didn’t get was heat. For a Tripel and for being an 8% beer, I expected a little heat.

My first taste was packed with a really good malt flavor. There was a wheaty flavor as well which isn’t something I’ve noticed in a lot of Tripels. The banana from the nose also carried through to the taste along with the slight bits of Belgian spice. What I really liked about this beer is how delicate the flavors are composed. The flavors are really balanced but this one is much more malt forward than other Tripels that I’ve had. I still have yet to be disappointed by the St . Bernardus beers. (more…)

Beer Review #117 Merry Monks

Seeing that this is my first day in Belgium I figured that a review of a Belgian style Golden Ale is fully appropriate. This brew comes from Weyerbacher Brewing Company out of Easton, Pa. Weyerbacher makes a lot of great brews and Merry Monks was one of my first Belgian style beers. I honestly don’t know what the difference between a golden ale and a Tripel is, but for this beer the stats seems very similar. Merry Monks rocks in at a wonderful 9.3% ABV.

This Belgian style ale pours a nice straw color and has a slight haze. An abundant white head floats on top of the ale. The nose promises some heat, along with a nice sweetness. The typical Belgian spices are in there as well, but this particular yeast stain really features a banana aroma.

On the first taste I noticed a slight sweetness on the front part which is quickly followed by the Belgian spices. The banana that was on the nose follows through in the flavor as well. The only thing that I didn’t detect was the heat. I got no heat on this beer, even after letting it warm for a bit. This beer is devilishly drinkable. I really enjoyed it and I highly recommend this beer to anyone. (more…)

Beer Review #115 New World Tripel

Boston Beer Company, a.k.a Sam Adams, put out a lot of special beers each year in addition to their typical line-up. I recently reviewed one of those special beers that received a lot of press when it came out. One of my friends brought a bottle of New World Tripel down to my house last month and we drank it while watching the Flyers play. New World Tripel is part of Boston Beer’s Barrel Room Collection (check out that link for an interesting read). At the current time, there are three beers in their collection and a fourth will soon be added. I felt honored to try such a limited beer.

New World Tripel pours an orange color and it is super hazy. It does have a fluffy white head as should be expected in a Tripel. The nose is super yeasty with some Belgian spice in there as well. I did not detect any heat on the nose which is surprising since this beer rocks in at 10% ABV.

The front-end of this beer has a nice sweetness that is quickly balanced by the Belgian spices. For a barrel aged beer, this one was very balanced. I bet if we would have let this sit for a year or so it would be much more sour. At the current time, this beer did not have any sour notes. I didn’t get any heat in the flavor of this beer either, which is wonderful and dangerous. This is one sneaky beer.

I’m a sucker for a good Tripel and this one fits the bill. I also love unique bottles, and this one is a must have. I believe they only sell this at the brewery in Boston, but if you get the chance grab one. There are some other good Tripel’s out there but I think this one sits near the top of the list. (more…)

Beer Review #112 Pater Lieven Tripel

I am a sucker for a good Tripel. I simply love the beer style. I just over a week I will be traveling to Belgium to enjoy some wonderful beer, and I guess the sights. I will also be visiting Germany, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands. I hope to enjoy some good beers, and if this beer is any indication of what to expect, I am going to have a great time.

Pater Lieven Tripel is brewed by Brouwerij Van Den Bossche out of Herzek, Belgium (say that sentence five time fast). This tripel comes in at a nice 8% ABV and the bottle indicates that it has been brewed since 1897. Impressive. This beer pours an orange color and  has a fluffy white head. There are some small particles suspended in the beer which is common in Belgian ales.

The nose is a bit tart and has no heat. The typical Belgian spices are there and that’s really all there is the the aroma. The taste is full of flavor. It has a good honey-like sweetness. It is followed by a slightly sour twang on the end. The Belgian spices are mixed into the flavors but they are very light. Some Belgian beers really showcase the yeast strains, this beer shows a more reserved hand. I really enjoyed this one and I recommend it to you.

I can’t wait for Europe.

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