Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Duvel Tripel Hop

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1037) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 31, 2013
I poured an 11.2oz bottle into a goblet. It had a best before date of 10/2015 and cost $8 ($0.71 per ounce).

Appearance: Bright, glowing shade of banana-skin yellow. Crystal clear bottle with massive carbonation visible. Pours to a large, bright white, foamy head which laces and retains very well.

Smell: An interesting mix of spicy, herbal hops and a hint of lemony citrus.

Taste: I never was a big fan of Duvel, even though it’s world renown. This "Tripel Hop" edition seems to be an attempt to emulate the American style of hopping everything and I think it actually works quite well. Though they don’t use the common American type of hops, rather - Sorachi Ace, Saaz and Styrian Golding. The result is a Belgian strong pale ale that’s indeed hoppy - but not in the way drinkers like me are used to (and that’s a good thing).

The best adjective to describe this beer would be spicy. Black pepper, lemonpeel, grass, garlic and onion are all present in the taste here - both as the main palette flavors and the additive notes from the hops. While the classic Belgian base of amber and pale malts is indeed present, they aren’t the start of the show. There’s a delightful, zesty taste and sensation of banana and lemon with just a touch of Belgian yeast character at the crest of the swig. Otherwise, the hops are accounting for most of the flavor. It’s a nice change from the usual Belgian, though that spiciness might take some getting used to. I’d love to see them do this recipe with American hops, but as it stands, this is still a very good brew.

Drinkability: I can’t recall a beer that was more heavily carbonated to the eye than Duvel Tripel Hop. Interestingly enough, it was not too intense in the mouth. Spritzy and energetic for sure, but it does not tear up the tongue. The mouthfeel is on the thinner side and needless to say it’s crisp and finishes fairly clean with just a slightly dry, starchy aftertaste. It doesn’t feel nearly as heavy as its 9.5% ABV weight should - which makes drinking this all the more pleasurable of an experience.
Grade: 8/10

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