Alechemy: Melgian Tripel (Scotland: Abbey Trippel: 9.5% ABV)
Visual: Mahogany touched gold. Thin dash of off white islands for a head. Still and clear of main body.
Nose: Hard boiled sweets and candyfloss. Strawberry sweets and soft banana sweets. Brown sugar.
Body: Caramelised sugar. Crème brulee. Pear drops. Fruity esters. Brown bread. Vanilla slice. Treacle.
Finish: Crème brulee. Candyfloss. Brown sugar. Hard boiled sweets. Bready. Banana chews.
Conclusion: OK, i will put my hands up and confess that for the dubbel and tripel styles I am massively biased towards the common rough edged diamond Belgian take on the style as opposed to the smoother craft wave interpretation. This, therefore, grabs my affections early on by its very evident rough edged sweet flavours. The texture is smooth, but the flavour isn’t afraid to leave a few unpolished edges.
It is very sweet, more so than the Belgian takes, and while it does have the same nice funky yeast and esters, it doesn’t use them as heavily so doesn’t have as much contrast to give it the counter balance it needs.
Still, saying that, I am slowly getting more pear drops now. Admittedly pear drops, dropped in treacle and coated in banana chews, but it is that kind of flavour mash up that I love from the style. The big sweetness you get from the brown sugar and crème brulee make for a backbone which it uses as a base for exploding into more subtle elements.
Over time that pear drop style gets bigger and bigger until it finally becomes the proper contrast the beer needs, and it is in the final third of the beer that is where it finally shines. It manages to both show respect to the style and bring its own quirks.
So, it has flaws, it is a bit too sweet, but it does give you a rough edged ride with green fruit against dessert and hard sweets in exchange. Which is awesome.
I am wondering how it will age now. Probably well, though I fear it would smooth the rough edges too much and lose some charm. You can’t tell until you try. As is, it ain’t perfect, but it is a joyous wee burst of a tripel.
Background: This was brewed with Melissa Cole, I thought I had encountered the name, so I did a search and she made the Thai Bo with Otley a few years back. She also does a very good beer blog, which you should check out. This was drunk while listening to a mix of some Heavens to Betsy and Grimes. I had just rewatched Peter Capaldi’s first Doctor Who episode on iplayer, so was in a right chuffed mood.