Visual: Apricot, good sized white bubbled head.
Nose: Peach syrup. Black liquorice. Cane sugar. Cheesecake. Dried apricot. Stewed fruit. Slightly musty.
Body: Cream. Some bitterness. Banana. Liquorice. Cloves. Apricot. Slightly yeastie.
Finish: Cake sponge. Liquorice. Cane sugar. Lemon curd. Quite clean.
Conclusion: A creamy, fruity Tripel with liquorice notes. You had me up until that last one, now you are going to have to work really hard to sell me on it.
The base tripel is really clean and slightly dry with very little residual cane sugar. There is some sweetness but in general if feels more attenuated that a lot of the sugar sweet tripels going around. The sweetness instead mainly comes from the fruity character that would not actually be out of place on the less bitter end of the American IPA spectrum, there is even a similar creaminess of character.
Then, there is the liquorice, which seems to be a side affect of the dryness I think. It does have a use – tamping down the residual sugars that still exist to stop them building up too much. It goes a bit far though and can become a cloying and long lasting presence, far after the other flavours, and that really isn’t my preference.
It is a sign of the quality of the rest of the beer that I still enjoyed it despite that -while mostly a clean feel there is a bit of yeastiness there – small, but present and it gives it an interesting character. Based on this I would say there is a lot of room in the market for less sweet tripels, it is just this one needs a few more tweaks to work.
So a very fruity and dry tripel. It is at the almost working level, but not quite. However, if you have more of a tolerance for liquorice than I, this might be right up your street.
Background: Ok, where to list this as being from? Had to do a bit of googling for this one – the beers are listed as being brewed in Belgium according to the bottle, but Collective Sao Gabriel appear to be contract brewers a la Mikkeller, but based in South Africa. I’ve followed the Mikkeller route and listed where I think they are based. So South Africa it is. I didn’t just do that so I get an unusual entry on the beer map – honest. Anyway, I mainly grabbed this as it has awesome art on it which caught my eye. yep, sometimes I am that shallow. Ratebeer is listed in this as a Belgian strong ale, but I’ve decided to do my usual and list it based on what the brewer calls it as long as it is the right ballpark. Drunk while listening to New Model Army’s live album. Note: despite what I say above I actually quite like liquorice by itself, it just often doesn’t work in beer. Grabbed from Independent Spirit.