Bosteels (AB Inbev): Tripel Karmeliet (Belgium: Tripel: 8.4% ABV)

Visual: Clear, medium brightness gold. Lots of small bubbled carbonation. Massive mounded white head.

Nose: Peppery. Coriander. Wheaty bitterness. Vanilla. Orange zest. Lightly earthy. Turmeric.

Body: Peppery bitterness. Oily character. Menthol, with a sap like core. Greenery touch. Vanilla. Thick. Sweet brown sugar. Orange zest. Wheaty. Crusty white bread. Brown rice.

Finish: Peppery. Slightly oily. Good bitterness. Brown rice. Orange zest. Lemon zest. Brown sugar. Grapes.

Conclusion: What I’ve always like about this beer over this years is that, quite frankly, it is an utter mess, but a glorious mess in that and one I’ve always enjoyed.

That may sound strange, but follow me on this one. It is distinctly peppery in its characteristics, yet that spice works alongside brown sugar raw sweet notes at its heights. Despite a dry edge this has a oily feel to the core, with accompanying bitterness. Yet that texture also comes across as a sap like menthol thickness that refreshes rather than bites. You have orange zest fresh notes working against a savoury brown rice base. So many notes you normally wouldn’t find together all cohabiting here in perfect harmony in an oily, dry, sweet, citrus, spicy, etc, etc way.

It is a high alcohol beer, and feels it, but in a way that shows itself as an odd, well attenuated kind of alcoholic haze. There is nothing too evident, but there is always a dry alcohol shimmer that makes you take care of what you are drinking, without hurting the overall experience.

It comes with a lovely cornucopia of flavours that somehow mesh despite the fact that they really shouldn’t and should just make an utter car wreck of a beer instead. Bitterness, sweetness, alcohol, savoury, sweet, spicy, I’ve been over this already, it just plays with so many flavour styles.

It is a joy, but one I am sure is not for everyone as it is a lot of a mess, but I would be lying if I didn’t say I was a big fan, and there is a lot to enjoy here if you go with it.

Background: This is one of the Belgian beers I first encountered many a year ago, when I was just starting on my beer hunting journey, and a big fan of it I was back then. So of course I never did notes on it until now. I even had a Tripel Karmeliet glass, which was one of my favourite glasses, until I broke it. It turns out that being drunk often around glass can cause breakages. Who would have thought it? This was picked up from Waitrose, but many places seem to have it in, it is fairly easy to get. Though the Brexit related delivery issues of recent months seem to make it harder to find in some places. Went with Crass – The Feeding of 5000 for music. Crass is one of those well reputed, classic punk bands that passed me by back in the day so I thought I would make an effort to check them out. Impressed so far.