Tag Archive: Abbey Tripel

Moa Tripel

Moa: St Joseph’s Tripel (New Zealand: Abbey Tripel: 9.5% ABV)

Visual: Utterly still despite my best attempts on pouring. Grain yellow.

Nose: Candyfloss. Tangerine. Fruit sugars. Brown sugar. Blackpool rock. Strawberry yogurt touch at times.

Body: Smooth. Banana and custard. Blackpool rock. Passion fruit. Kiwi. Tangerine. Candyfloss. Almost raspberry pavlova and light pineapple. Golden syrup.

Finish: Raspberry sweets. Barley. Brown sugar. Some bitterness. Brown bread. Passion fruit. Light spice touch.

Conclusion: This tastes like an aged beer, possibly it may be. I really don’t know, these beers can take a long time to reach the UK. All I know is it has been in my hands under a month. Despite that the beer is so smooth to the extent of night feeling light on the tongue, and is utterly still of body. Both elements I associate with aged beers.

Anyway, despite the very light feel in texture, the flavours delivered by this are huge and fruity. The strength of flavour definitely belies the weight of the texture touch. The flavours are very NZ hop fruity, and the main Tripel elements seem to be used more as a base for this. For the Tripel traditional elements you have banana like sweetness, candy floss and brown sugar, with just some hints of Belgian yeastiness, however these are definitely secondary.

What booms instead are fruit sugars, pineapple, tangerine and passion fruit. You get other fruit at the edges, but frankly that is still a massive amount to have up front. In this it feels very similar to the highly hopped barley wines, with nods to the Tripel style distinguishing it.

As often happens with non Belgian takes on Belgian styles I find myself having to fight expectations. This has little of the yeastiness or that rough cut gem feel that you get with a lot of Belgian takes on the style, instead leaning more towards a smoothness of character that I expect of USA interpretations, and that does make it feel even more barley wine like.

As a beer in itself it is dangerously drinkable for the abv, it has but a light shimmer of the strength that is actually present within. It isn’t my favourite Tripel, I would say Rulles does the fruity style better without losing the base nature, but it is still a delicious and different take – dangerously light but full fo flavour. I do prefer more hard edges to my Tripels, but it would be churlish to deny that this is a fine drink.

Background: I had to put off drinking and reviewing this one for a while. I had got a few Moa beers for my sis and her husband for Christmas, and while I was at it I got one for myself. Reviewing them would kind of give the game away. Anyway, Christmas has passed and so the beer is broken open. Picked up from Independent Spirit. Yes, again.



Allagash: Curieux (USA: Abbey Tripel: 11% abv)

Visual: Ripe banana skin yellow and somewhat hazy. Loose slightly custard hued head with tight bubbled froth.

Nose: Banana. Slightly wheat. White grapes. Toffee. Nutmeg. Custard.

Body: Fruitcake and cherries. Vinous notes with grapes. Soft apricot, custard and wheat. Slight sourness. Toffee and smooth texture. Soft lemon. Banoffee in fact when you put some of the above together.

Finish: Soft feel. Toffee and grapes. Liquorice. Wheat. Shortbread and lemon meringue. Quite dry.

Conclusion: This is a real mix of styles. I mean I know it is a tripel, but there are such soft notes from the bourbon ageing, all smooth texture toffee and custard.  Then you have the vinous notes, grapes and fruitcake all that hint at a far darker beer than we have in front of us.  It settles down around wheat, apricot and banana flavours that tie it back to a more traditional Belgium style. Somehow it manages to weave all this together without feeling weird.

It’s got a lovely mix of flavours and is pleasantly soft on the tongue, never even hinting at its abv. The flavour of toffee and apricot just eases in as if seeping through your taste buds. It feels half cut by an aged strong English ale with all the heavier flavours, but never forgets that distinct Belgium funky feel, smoothed out though it is by the bourbon twist. While I was trying to work out what flaws it had Will commented that it needed something to surprise you in the finish and I would agree. The flavours are very similar throughout, tapering away rather than giving a resolution to your drink  Hardly the worst flaw in the world though, but it did help explain why, say, Not Just Another Wit, for all it’s difference in style, helped demonstrate what this needed to push it from very good to top notch.

Frankly considering the smoothness of the beer you could even argue it is less a bug and more a feature, but as the only element that stood out as weaker than the rest I thought it worth mentioning.  Overall it is a great beer with delicate dessert flavours and vinous backing.  It feels like they have smoothed off the peaks and troughs of the beer experience to create something that is always satisfying but without the quirks I find in my favourite beers.

It is a lovely little warming beer with great sweetness and lots of toffee to back an almost too polished beer. All smooth edges and well worth trying.

Background: Picked up during the road trip of awesome from the house of brews, this is a beer I’ve been looking for since I saw it in “100 Belgium beers to try before you die”. Aged in Jim Beam casks, and one of the brewers reputed for going Belgium style ales this should be something interesting. Shared with Will who assisted with tasting notes.

La Rulles: Triple (Belgium: Abbey Tripel: 8.4% ABV)

Visual: Clear banana to gold, thin layer of smooth off white head.

Nose: Wheat, carrot and coriander. Barley husks. Light bitterness. Pepper. Some red berries, maybe raspberry ripple mixed with strawberries.

Body: Very smooth. Gingerbread and bitterness. Watermelon. Digestive biscuits with bits of red fruit.  A slight custard cream centres for the sweetness. Raspberry touches and some smooth milk.  Gooseberry and passion fruit after a while drinking.

Finish:  Dry wheat and bitterness. Dry wine feel. Lots of bitterness stays. Touch of cream.  While not complex the finish sure hangs around.

Conclusion:  We all have a rough idea what to expert from a tripel style beer right? Maybe sweet for the newer styles, wheat will probably come into it, the usual.  So, did any of you put raspberry in the expected flavours list, cos I sure as hell didn’t, yet here it comes in a main body that shocked the hell out of me.

So yes a fruity tripel, full bodied and far less sweet than a lot of the recent takes on the style all leading into a distinctly dry finish.  In fact most of the beer is that touch drier than expected.

A very exciting range of flavours, yet crisp and dry. This is supremely drinkable and never dull. If not for the abv it would session magnificently, with that long bitter finish really making a nice pause between sips,

Frankly it is quite astonishingly good, with oddities like the dry wine feel of the finish and the flavour all part of a fantastically made package.

Background: Rulles have a good rep, and I’ve enjoyed my previous encounters with them. This bottle was picked up from Bacchus Cornelius in Brugge, where it had just turned up that day.  Due its size and potent abv this bottle was shared with my friend and co taster Will who offered some suggestions for this write up – many thanks.

AChouffe: Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen IPA Triple (Belgium: Abbey Tripel: 9%)

Visual: Hazy gold with a large ice cream Sunday frothy white head that was knife cut by the waitress to a smooth edge. Leaves firm lace clumps as it descends and an odd and slightly rude shaped bump of froth remained in the middle to the very end.

Nose: Crisp wheat hops, crushed gingerbread. Quite yeasty. Ice cream and a prickly feel.

Body: Crushed chives, rousing hop bitterness. Slight hop oil in texture. Slight milk behind hops. Lemon and vanilla.

Finish: Wet and bitter, lots of greenery. Chives and cut leaves. Brown bread. Low fat soft cheese traces. Passion fruit.

Conclusion:  Ordered mainly to the “La Chouffe” royal oak incident (don‘t ask), but I ended up not regretting it for a moment. This Belgium style IPA turned out to be on tap rather than bottled as expected, much to my delight.

Very fresh and light – well light apart from the massive hop kick in it.  There is a universe where that sentence makes sense I assure you.  Like the Belgium takes on stouts their Belgium IPA’s somehow manage to mix the lovely graceful Belgium notes into a heavy duty foreign style without missing a beat. In this case it’s a Belgium Triple and a craft IPA that come head too head.

It reminds me of a highly hopped version of Brewdogs Trashy Blond Monk, appropriately enough, though this is by far the superior beer.  Feels very chewy despite its smooth texture.  It won’t convert a non hop head, but it does add a significant amount to the style, a balance between hop assault and drinkability.

A good evenings slow drink, and the peanuts side snacks complemented it well, with the salt vs. hop kick a delectable contrast.

Background: Drunk on tap. The abv is approximate as I have seen several different abv’s for the tap versions listed, and the bottle version different again. Since I forgot to check at the time of drinking, I have gone for the “official” abv of 9% for the listing.

Listed as an Abbey Tripel, but as its name suggests it is a Belgium take on the IPA, a comparatively recent oddity, but one that should be encouraged.  AChouffe brewery is notable for the “La Chouffe” incident of the Royal Oak pub, from which determination to drink their ales in Belgium came from. The incident is no where near as interesting as it sounds, but we shall continue to refer to it in obscure terms to make it sound like a momentous event.

Note: The vast majority of the book in the image above is taken up with their beer list. A fine restaurant/pub of Bruges it was.

Bavik: Petrus: Gouden Triple (Belgium: Abbey Tripel: 7.5% ABV)

Visual:  A pale barley influenced colour with a thick terrain of bubbled froth head.

Nose: Wheat, cinnamon and nutmeg. Fresh and ready. A touch of processed ice cream and barley. Quite bread like.

Body: Barley and wholemeal bread. Very frothy and with a touch of unripe grapes. Cinnamon bun. Honey, treacle and slight spices.

Finish: Liquorice comes through very distinctly. Bitterness and wheat.

Conclusion: What the hell is that liquorice finish doing in there? It just doesn’t fit. As the first sip trickled down the throat the unexpected liquorice tingle made itself apparent to such a degree that the relatively plain mid body was forgotten.

Mostly it is however a passable beer, and I am far from a liquorice hater, but here it seems mismatched and lingers.  The finish reminds me of the end of an overrun party where the host waits patiently for the last few people to kindly depart already!


Reasonable main body that reflects a nice nose with a touch of spice, but builds to an unsatisfying end.

Bockor: Omer Traditional Blond (Belgium: Abbey Style Tripel: 8% ABV)

Visual: Clear honeyed gold, a slight caramelised haze over the white bubbled head that leaves slight lace like suds.

Nose: Distinct lemon and light banana. Wheat is present but with a slight fudge sweetness. Milky malt chocolate drink and a touch of spice.

Body: Wheat, lemon and barley. Malt and spice. Quite sweet with banana syrup like character and light honey.

Finish: Sharp yet sweet lemon, honey and ginger snaps. Vanilla and a bready feel.

Conclusion: A beer I had not heard of before heading to Bruges, and it seems comparatively new to the scene – so heck I thought I might as well give it a try.  Flavour stays within its claimed Blond style, despite its ABV making it more suited to being considered a Tripel style.  The mix is nice, but despite this oddity the flavours don’t excessively deviate from the Blond expectation.

Does the tricks well though with a nice mix of banana sweetness and wheat that refreshes.  A well done beer, and good take on it’s called for style, and shows the characteristic quality you find in nigh any Belgium pub.

It’s good, but doesn’t stand out that much in the country. Then again, Belgium is without a doubt, the best beer country in the world, so you can’t blame it too much for that.

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