Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tripel (Home Brew)

Tripel (Home Brew)

Brewed by:
DGH Brewery
Hockessin, Delaware, USA



Style Description:
The name "Tripel" actually stems from part of the brewing process, in which brewers use up to three times the amount of malt than a standard Trappist "Simple." Traditionally, Tripels are bright yellow to gold in color, which is a shade or two darker than the average Pilsener. Head should be big, dense and creamy. Aroma and flavor runs along complex, spicy phenolic, powdery yeast, fruity/estery with a sweet finish. Sweetness comes from both the pale malts and the higher alcohol. Bitterness is up there for a beer with such a light body for its strength, but at times is barely perceived amongst the even balance of malts and hops. The lighter body comes from the use of Belgian candy sugar (up to 25% sucrose), which not only lightens the body, but also adds complex alcoholic aromas and flavors. Small amounts of spices are sometimes added as well.

Tripels are actually notoriously alcoholic, yet the best crafted ones hide this character quite evil-like and deceivingly, making them sipping beers.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 8.0-12.0%

It looks like this is going to be Homebrew Week. I have several homebrews from friends to review so I thought that I would but them all together in next few reviews. This Tripel was one of the first homebrews from my friend Dave. I have been cellaring this since last summer. I believe that was a mini-mash kit but I do not have any other information. 

The beer pours a hazy copper with orange hues and a fairly rich off white head.

The nose is modest with caramel malt aromas with notes of yeasty fruit on an underlining sweetness. I’m not sure if the sweetness is fruity esters or alcohol.

Nice first sip; sweet and delicious. It is certainly lacking the Belgian complexity but still a nice first sip.

The taste starts out with a touch of pale malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by pleasant cleansing mouthfeel as the ale washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back end is fairly easy drinking with a slight hesitation on the top of the swallow. There is a richness that builds during the swallow into the finish. The finish is very nice with clean pale malt flavors, sweet fruity citrus notes, some yeastiness and alcohol sweetness. The final aftertaste is a hint of lingering sweet pale malts and touch of citrus.

All and all this is very good considering it was brewed from a kit.

As this warms a little the pale malt flavors seem richen.

Although it’s not noted in the above style description from a traditional Abbey Tripel is brewed with 30% wheat malts. These wheat malt flavors are not present in this beer. This is also lacking the complexity of the style. But on the other hand this is impressively good overall beer. The bier snob in me comes out when review Belgians but I am actually enjoying this experience.

The sweetness of this ale as it warms reminds me of honey. I suppose this sweetness is from the candi sugar.

Wow. I put the glass style to work on the second pour and what a difference in the mouthfeel. The rich head retention of the tulip glass provided a silky smooth creamy mouthfeel in the first sip of this second pour.

The more I drink this, the more I’m enjoying it. I’ve had worst Belgian Style beers from commercial breweries. I still can’t get over that this was a kit; impressive.

This may be lacking that complexity but this beer is full of the right flavors.

I let this warm to room temperature and it was delicious. It’s always impressive when a beer warms and does not pick up any unpleasantness.

The rating is difficult for me. In style, this would be very low since it is lacking the wheat malt flavors and complexity of a Tripel. However for an overall rating I really enjoyed this ale. If this was a commercial beer I would be harsh and give it a D+ to a C- in style but would have to give it a B+ overall.  Since I don’t know anything about this beer or what Dave was shooting for it would not be fair for me to give this a grade.

Dave’s Home Brew Tripel was great overall well crafted ale. While lacking in some key aspects of the Belgian Abbey Tripel it was full of rich pale almost caramel malt flavors with fruity and citrus notes and an overall smooth and creamy mouthfeel and an alcohol intensity what warranted you savoring every sip.

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