Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Kasteel Triple (2011 vintage)

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1046) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 21, 2014
I poured an 11.2oz bottle into a chalice. It was bottled on "110208" (February 8th, 2011?). It cost $5.99 ($0.53 per ounce).

Appearance: Orange/copper hue that is surprisingly clear with no sediment (it doesn’t appear to be bottle-conditioned). Pours to virtually no head and what does forms fizzles away completely. No visible carbonation.

Smell: Strong Belgian aromatics of yeast esters, banana, clove and distinct alcohol.

Taste: I originally reviewed a 2008 vintage of this beer back in 2010 and it absolutely floored me with its intensity. I had drank several Belgian beers by that point, but this was just a booze bomb. A few years later and I’m drinking a nearly three-year-old vintage to the day and it’s a completely different beer. While Kasteel Triple is indeed a big beer, it’s nowhere near as intimidating as I remember. This time around it’s a pretty standard Belgian tripel, only much stronger than most of the style and not necessarily any better.

The palette here is actually quite simple, which is surprising given the hefty 11% ABV weight. It begins with a sweetness akin to butterscotch or caramel hard candies. Sweet, but not especially rich. There’s notes of banana, clove and black pepper, but they are on the more subtle side. Perhaps this is due to age, or the fact the alcohol is difficult to ignore. It imparts warmth and some dryness, and while it’s a bit distracting, it’s still complementary to the palette.

Drinkability: Where Kasteel Triple loses points with me is its drinkability. Even though carbonation isn’t visible, it’s definitely a physical sensation in the mouth and throat. The dense 11% ABV body can’t be ignored as it sits quite heavy on the system and has a distinct character of warmth or even flat-out heat. It does finish remarkably clean, though. 
Grade: 7/10
 NOTE: Watch my 2010 review of a 2008 vintage here:

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