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.