Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Houblon Chouffe (2013 original review)

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (922) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 9, 2013
I poured an 11.2oz bottle into an official Chouffe tulip glass. It had a best before date of 3/2015 and cost $5.79 ($0.52 per ounce).

Appearance: Bright gold hue, mostly clear with some haze. Spastic carbonation continually visible. Forms a large, bright white, fluffy head which retains and laces excellently.

Smell: Significant lemon fruit and peel, plus black pepper and traditional Belgian yeast esters.

Taste: From what I can gather, Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel is intended to be a hybrid a traditional Belgian tripel and an American IPA. However, I think the final product is not much of either. Not that it’s a bad beer, since it does drink like a strong Belgian pale ale with the usual features.

The bottle indicates the beer is brewed with Tomahawk, Amarillo and Saaz hops - which are a strange combination. Tomahawk imparts intense bitterness and the Saaz gives it a spicy, almost pilsner-like pepper character. However, the citrus usually associated with Amarillo hops is surprisingly absent. The beer does get the bitterness down, though. From beginning to end there’s bitterness to this palate. Much like the aroma, there’s a distinct lemony flavor as well. I wouldn’t describe this as a sweet beer per se, as the hops are quite overshadowing. I find the lack of spice flavors usually found in Abbey tripels to be a bit disappointing, though I had to say the palette as a whole is enjoyable.

Drinkability: Since Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel is bottle-conditioned and a rather big beer, it’s no surprise the mouthfeel is rather intense all around. Plenty of zesty, drying, palate-scrubbing carbonation from the first to last sip (expect plenty of burping with this one). I was pleasantly surprised to see the 9% ABV weight was well utilized as there is no boozy quality to the beer. Though the hops do a good job of drying me out after each swig. 
Grade: 7/10

NOTE: See my 2018 re-review to BJCP specs here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2018/03/houblon-chouffe-2018-re-review-to-bjcp.html

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