Straffe Hendrik Wild is a Belgian Tripel brewed by Brouwerij De Halve Maan, and for the purposes of this craft beer review, the ale was served in a snifter from a bottle.
Popping the cap unleashes a torrent of foam. Be careful when opening or risk losing half of the beer. Once poured into the glass, the Tripel’s appearance is a cloudy, burnt orange topped by a thick cap of fizzy white foam that reduces rapidly. A soapy collar and a few droplets of residue are left behind.
Brettanomyces are more pronounced in the aroma. It’s quite pleasant, offering a heady scent of barnyard hay, wet grass, and cracked pepper.
Aged a couple of years, the taste of Bretty funk is entirely complementary. The palate begins with bready malt and apricot. That stable-like flavor appears in the middle and lingers on the back of the tongue momentarily. A twist of lemon freshens the palate before a sweet dive into candied sugar, apples, and banana. Fruity esters are spiced with coriander, clove, and pepper. Warming alcohol appears in a dry finish but isn’t too overpowering.
Flavors come alive on the tongue with its spritzy feel. Slick and oily with a medium-full body and ample carbonation. Finishes dryly.
The Straffe Hendrik Wild is absolutely wonderful from the very first sip. The Brett is restrained and allows this brew to retain its fruity and spicy Tripel taste. And in spite of a high ABV, this is such an easy brew to toss back and enjoy.
Better with Age
The Straffe Hendrik Tripel is refermented with a strain of Brettanomyces yeast to create the The Straffe Hendrik Wild. The maturation process lasts at least three months before the beer becomes palatable. And the ale’s palate will continue to develop during subsequent years. Each bottle has a shelf life of five years. The bottle consumed for this particular review was two years old.