La Senne: Jambe de Bois (Belgium: Abbey Tripel: 8% ABV)
Visual: Hazy banana juice, cloudy body with evident sediment. Very large yellow to white mounded froth head that leaves lace.
Nose: Wheat. Dried banana. Custard slices. Toffee. vanilla ice cream.
Body: Solid hop bitterness. Bananas in custard. Toffee. Wheat. Peach. Blackpool rock and candyfloss. Pear drops. Apple.
Finish: Wheat. Banana and big bitter hops. Apricot. Blackpool rock. Pear drops.
Conclusion: So this is a Tripel? Or, maybe a Belgian IPA? Actually, you know what this makes me think of? If Saison Dupont and Westmalle Tripel made the two backed beast in a back alley and then waited nine months.
It was that brisk but clean hop character that made me think of Saison Dupont. Refreshing and awakening, and with the same sweet backing, but merged with the rough edged gem sweetness of Westmalle Tripel. There is definite raw sugar and hints of well buried alcohol strength.
Even though it can be described thus, it still has very much its own character – behind the wonderfully bracing level of hops for a tripel it has this massive banana and custard middle, which is the final defining element of this beer. Together there is huge bitterness and huge sweetness, mixed in with lovely esters. Despite the massive sweetness this feels perfectly attenuated – the initially frothy middle becoming a drier take which leads out into a shining yet bitter finish.
Frankly this entire beer shows exactly why I always seem to end up preferring the Belgian take over the American ones. It wears the slight rough edges with pride and brings so much more to the beer because of that. It allows raw sugar touches, subtle esters and varied mouthfeels, all of which add up to an exceptional experience.
Absolutely lovely, the balance of Saison Dupont, Chouffe Houblon, Westmalle Tripel and more makes for a fantastic beer.
Background: Grabbed at Corks of Cotham – Been a while since I’ve had La Sennse beer, they tend to be spot on for quality so this was a no brainer. I tend to prefer the Belgian style Tripel over the American style, they tend to have a few more charming rough edges. Drunk while listening to some Against Me! for no particular reason apart from I enjoy them.