Belgian Tripel

Glassware: Tulip
  • Belgium
  • Ale
  • ABV = 7.5 – 9.5% (High)^
  • IBU = 20-40
  • SRM = 4.5-7
A strong, gold-coloured Belgian ale with spicy, fruity, and light alcohol notes, supportive grainy-sweet malt and a dry finish.

Similar to a Belgian Golden Strong Ale but slightly darker and somewhat fuller-bodied, with more emphasis on phenolics and less on esters. Usually has a more rounded malt flavour but should never be sweet.

Appearance:

  • Colour^ = Straw to gold
  • Clarity = Good

Key Aromas & Flavours:

Aroma
  • Malt = Low; grainy-sweet, honey-like
  • Yeast = Moderate; fruity esters (orange, banana) / moderate to high; spicy, peppery, clove-like phenols / low; soft, spicy alcohol
  • Hops = Low; spicy, floral, sometimes perfumy
Flavour
  • Malt = Low; grainy-sweet, may be honey-like
  • Yeast = Low to moderate; fruity esters (orange, lemon) / low to moderate; peppery phenols / low; soft, spicy alcohol
  • Hops = Low to moderate; spicy
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Moderate
  • Balance = Towards the fruity, spicy, alcohol flavours; bitterness (from hops and yeast-produced phenolics) does not overwhelm these flavours, as malt is there in support
Aftertaste/Finish

Substantial carbonation and bitterness lends a dry finish with a moderately bitter aftertaste with substantial spicy-fruity yeast character

Mouthfeel:

  • Body = Medium
  • Carbonation = High; effervescent
  • Alcohol warmth = The alcohol content is deceptive and has little to no obvious warming sensation

Characteristic Ingredients/Processes:

  • Malt = Pilsner malt, plus pale sugar syrup
  • Yeast = Belgian ale yeast
  • Hops = Continental or English hop varietals (Saazer-type or Styrian Goldings hops are traditional)
  • Process = Traditionally bottle conditioned (ie. refermented in the bottle)

Historical Development:

Originally popularized by the Trappist monastery at Westmalle.


Commercial Examples:

Westmalle Tripel, Chimay Cinq Cents, St. Bernardus Tripel


^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus.
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2015 Style Guidelines.


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