Tiny Rebel: NP10 (Wales: Abbey Tripel: 10% ABV)
Visual: Clear with a colour like tropical fruit juice. Froths up a bit but the white head does not settle. Some carbonation mid body.
Nose: Yeastie. Dried banana. Fresh white bread. Mango. Candy floss.
Body: Banana. Candy Cane. Watermelon. Apricot. Hard Sweets. Yeastie middle.
Finish: Light bitterness. Dry malt. Pineapple. Yeastie. Candyfloss.
Conclusion: Ok, this is nice, maybe a bit rough around the edges, but, as I think I’ve mentioned before, I prefer a bit of a rough edge to my Belgian style beers, both because it feels closer to the native Belgian interpretations and also because that roughness often provides a lot of charm.
The thing is, that this never goes beyond just nice. It doesn’t use the rough edges to do anything. For that matter it doesn’t even seem to leverage any of the opportunities brought along with its high abv. It doesn’t do anything to push the boat out and make something special. When you have such a high abv, and when you have a roughness to your beer you really need that something special to make it worthwhile.
The elements of the beer are by the numbers Belgian ale. The yeast feel is there, the banana notes, the candy cane and hard sweets. The necessary elements are present, and all nice, if a bit more boozy feeling than it earns, but again none of them shine. The Belgian market is already flooded with very high quality examples of these kind of beers, and this needs something to stand out.
So, I guess in the end it is slightly disappointing. It is nice, but for an event beer and a beer from such a good brewery it doesn’t have any spark. It apes the Belgian style well but does not add anything nor stand alone.
So, not bad, just an underwhelming 10%er.
Background: Tiny Rebel seems to be finally getting the exposure they deserve, showing up around Bath and Bristol, and have their own craft beer bar in Cardiff. This was however found at the old trustworthy Independent Spirit. Tiny Rebels first attempt at a Belgian abbey style I think so I definitely wanted to grab it.