The Westmalle Tripel is the original. The Trappist brewery first began brewing the Belgian Tripel in 1931 and first sold the golden strong ale in 1934. And they haven’t changed its recipe since 1956. So how is it? For the purposes of this craft beer review, the Tripel was served in a chalice from a 330 ml bottle.
The Tripel pours a cloudy, deep golden hue and is topped by an inch thick cap of dense white foam that shows fine retention. The head’s reduction doesn’t leave behind any residue on the glass.
The aroma wafts the nose with an herbal scent comprised of floral hops and spices, particularly clove.
Light bready malt leads the palate. It’s tart in the middle with a citric taste of orange. Sweet apple and candied sugar mellow the finish and lingers on the back of the mouth.
Glowing orange-gold color, herbal aroma, and complex flavors that meld rich malt sweetness, warmth, hops, and powerful drinkability.
The feel is relatively smooth with its medium body and above moderate carbonation. The beer’s tartness is felt on the back of the tongue. In spite of the Tripel’s high alcohol content, the boozy warmth is mild.
The Westmalle Tripel has a delicate and nicely balanced palate. The flavors of spices, hops, and candied fruit are allowed their own place. The aroma isn’t particularly strong and doesn’t last long, but it is pleasant. In spite of its strength, this brew is quite easy to knock back.
How can one judge a beer that originated the beer style? The beer was so popular that it was copied by other breweries and it turn originated the Tripel style. Honestly, it doesn’t get much better. This is a thoroughly enjoyable brew. Perhaps the only knock is the price. This isn’t a cheap brew. But you get what you pay for.
Westmalle Brewery recommends the following food pairings with their Westmalle Tripel: rich cheeses, hors d’oeuvres, asparagus, pâté, game or other rich main courses.
Download the Westmalle Product Sheet from the importer Merchant du Vin.